Residents of an Indian slum thought they were getting vaccinated like everyone else but were unknowingly part of a clinical trial
- A white van drove through the slums of Bhopal in central
Indiaadvertising a COVID-19 vaccine.
- The van reportedly said that anyone who got one would receive 750 rupees.
- But according to CNN, the residents were unknowingly part of a vaccine trial.
It seemed like a win-win for residents in the slums of Bhopal in central India when a white van drove through the streets advertising, "Come and take the coronavirus vaccine and get 750 rupees!" from its speaker system.
But according to a new report from CNN, the shots doled out were actually a part of the third phase of India's
CNN interviewed 21 people in the area who received shots in the trial. Many said they were drawn to get the vaccine because of the promise of 750 rupees, approximately $10 in the US."I went because of the greed of 750 rupees," Hira Bai, a mother of three told CNN. "Anyway, we are used to dying ... my life has no value."
Public health experts said the ethics of providing 750 rupees is questionable, especially if it was used as an incentive to bring in more volunteers.Arun Shrivastav, the head of the pharmacology department at the Gandhi Medical College in Bhopal, told CNN it would be "unethical" and "totally wrong" if the country advertised the trial with a promise of 750 rupees. "If there is anything like this happening, then it cannot be counted in the trial and the trial would be barred," Shrivastav told CNN.
Anil Kumar Dixit, the dean of People's College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre in Bhopal, affirmed that his hospital paid the participants 750 rupees but said it was only to cover any missed wages and was not meant as an incentive.
Many participants told CNN they weren't aware they may have received a placebo shot.Dixit told CNN that everyone involved was made well aware that the shots were part of the trial, but over half of the people CNN spoke with are illiterate and were unable to read any of the instructions or forms that health officials provided.
For those who cannot read, he said, officials explained everything in Hindi or English before participants signed any forms.
Many of the Bhopal participants noted they weren't asked about underlying health conditions before taking part in the trial. One pregnant woman told CNN she received the first of two injections before being turned away for the second dose due to the pregnancy.According to Johns Hopkins University, India is home to the fourth-most COVID-19 deaths in the world, with more than 156,000 recorded.
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