Indian doctors have warned that selling unauthorized Covid-19 vaccines on the black market, where sellers ask for bitcoin as payment, is illegal. According to doctors, the unapproved marketing of the vaccine to the elite is common in Karnataka state. Some doctors say the Indian government should step in to track down these sellers.
Vaccine for VIPs
As media reports from that country confirm that doctors “have received calls from VIP patients asking if these Covid-19 vaccines offered by certain dealers are real and can be used.” For example, the president of the Indian Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (Phana) has acknowledged that he has learned about the sale of such vaccines.
The Phana President, who is identified as’ Dr. HM Prasanna ”in a report, claims“ he has heard that certain vaccines are being administered to residents for bitcoin. While Prasanna condemns the unapproved sales, he asks potential buyers of the unapproved vaccines to “be careful (in such cases) and follow government guidelines in this regard.”
Citizens have to wait for government-approved vaccines
In the meantime, such reports of unverified Covid-19 vaccines being exchanged for bitcoin come as “the distribution of (any) such vaccines in the country is still considered illegal.” Rather than resorting to the illegal vaccines, Indian doctors insist that “citizens should wait for the government to market the product through the Drug Controller General of India”.
Meanwhile, another physician, Giridhara Babu, an epidemiologist and member of the technical advisory committee for the management of Covid-19 in Karnataka state, says he has not personally encountered such vaccines on the black market. Babu, urging the Indian government to tackle illegal vaccine vendors, however, claims that the sale and distribution of such Covid-19 vaccines “exacerbates inequalities because only those with money and power can gain access.”
Babu, on the other hand, explains that “those who use such vaccines may have the impression that it is an immunity booster, but they may end up taking a useless product.” Meanwhile, India will start its vaccination program against Covid-19 from January 16, and priority will be given to healthcare and frontline workers.
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