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West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trial


KOLKATA: West Bengal Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim has expressed his wish to be a volunteer for the Covaxin Phase III trial scheduled to be held at the city-based National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED).

The 62-year-old minister of the Mamata Banerjee- government has also spoken to the NICED officials and expressed his wish to be part of the programme.

"I want to help people. If my contribution helps in the treatment of people then I will be more than happy. I am keen to be part of the programme (Covaxin Phase III trial)," Hakim told PTI when contacted on Thursday.

Hakim, who is also the chairperson of the Board of Administrators (BoA) in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), said that he has spoken to the NICED authorities about his wish and they will be conducting a health check-up on him to find out whether he is "fit" to be part of the Covaxin Phase III trial at the institute.

"I have told them (authorities of the NICED) about my wish. They will conduct a health-check up on me to find out whether I am fit enough to be part of the trial or not. I am 62-year-old and they want to check whether my health will permit this or not," he said.

It was learnt that the NICED authorities have welcomed Hakim's willingness to join the trial and also invited Atin Ghosh, another member of Board of Administrators of KMC, in- charge of the Health wing of the civic body to be part of the trial.

"We welcome Mr Hakim's willingness to be part of the trial. This is a great gesture and we think this will set a good example for others too," an official of the NICED said.

Meanwhile, the Covaxin Phase III trial will soon start at the city-based NICED where at least 1,000 volunteers will be roped in, the official added.