MBBS students of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry have alleged that they are being coerced to take Covishield vaccine by the institute administration.
JIPMER is an institute of national importance, just like All India Institute of Medical Sciences. It is run by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The vaccination drive started in JIPMER on January 16 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched it in the country.
"A few days ago, students of 3rd and 4th year were asked to voluntarily come forward to take the vaccine shot but not a single student turned up as they are quite apprehensive about its safety and efficacy,” a 4th-year student said requesting anonymity.
He added, “After that our Director Dr Rakesh Aggarwal and Prof Pankaj Kundra, Dean (Academic) held a Zoom meeting with the students and said that each student will be called by their role numbers and they will have to take the Covisheid vaccine shot.”
Students say that many members of the Faculty who were vaccinated recently have suffered from severe adverse side effects such as high fever, pain, etc. This has discouraged a lot of students to opt-out of the ongoing drive.
“We have been told that no student will get any leave even after he or she suffers any severe side effects,” another student said.
He further alleged, “In the same meeting, all the students were warned that if they don’t take the jibe, they will not get any leave in case they contract Covid-19.”
“Though the warning”, they say, “was in a mild tone yet we apprehend the institute might show punitive behaviour towards students who will refuse.
Another student questioned, “If it is voluntary, then why are they scheduling the vaccination drive by our roll number wise?”
When contacted, Dr Aggarwal didn’t respond, however, Prof Kundra denied all these allegations.
“I am not the right person you have contacted. I am only dealing with academic matters. Vaccination is being done by the hospital authorities. However, this much I can say that we have very much declared for everyone that it is totally voluntary,” Prof Kundra said.
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