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Any death after Covid vaccination cannot be automatically linked to it: Centre clarifies

A doctor inoculates the second dose of Covid vaccine (AP)Premium
A doctor inoculates the second dose of Covid vaccine (AP)

  • The government also emphasised that the mortality rates for those testing positive for COVID-19 disease is more than 1% and COVID-19 vaccination can prevent these deaths
  • Meanwhile, a government panel studying COVID-19 vaccine side effects has confirmed the first death due to anaphylaxis following vaccination

The Indian government on Tuesday clarified that any death or hospitalisation following Covid-19 vaccination cannot be automatically assumed to be due to vaccination, debunking several reports claiming deaths post getting a jab.

"It is clarified that these reports are based on incomplete and limited understanding of the matter at hand," the Health Ministery said in a statement.

The government also said that as per several reports, "488 deaths following vaccination are linked to post-COVID complications during 16th Jan 2021 and 7th June 2021 period where the total vaccination coverage was 23.5 crore." However, it added, "It may be noted that the term “succumbed" insinuates causality i.e. the deaths were caused due to vaccination."

Further, the government also clarified that the number of deaths reported following COVID-19 vaccination in the country is only 0.0002% of 23.5 crore doses administered which is within the expected death rates in a population.

"In a population, deaths occur at a certain rate. Crude death rate in 2017 as per SRS data is 6.3 per 1000 persons annually."

The government also emphasised that the mortality rates for those testing positive for COVID-19 disease is more than 1% and COVID-19 vaccination can prevent these deaths. "Therefore, the risk of dying following vaccination is negligible as compared to the known risk of dying due to COVID-19 disease," it added.

Meanwhile, a government panel studying COVID-19 vaccine side effects has confirmed the first death due to anaphylaxis following vaccination.

The causality assessment of 31 reported Serious Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) cases following COVID-19 vaccination was carried out by the panel.

According to a report by the National AEFI Committee, a 68-year-old man died due to anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) after being vaccinated on March 8, 2021.

"It is the first death linked to COVID-19 vaccination due to anaphylaxis. It re-emphasises the need to wait for 30 minutes at the inoculation centre after receiving the jab. Most of the anaphylactic reactions occur during this period and prompt treatment prevents deaths," Dr NK Arora, chairperson, National AEFI committee, told news agency PTI.

The Committee examined five such cases that took place on February 5, eight cases on March 9 and 18 cases on March 31.

As per data in the first week of April, the reporting rate is 2.7 deaths per million vaccine doses administered and 4.8 hospitalisations per million vaccine doses administered, the report stated.

Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) is defined as ‘any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunization and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine. It can be any unfavourable or unintended sign, abnormal laboratory finding, symptom or disease’. "Healthcare workers, doctors and vaccine recipients have been always encouraged by the Government of India as well as State Governments to report all deaths, hospitalizations and events resulting in disability as well as any minor and adverse events following immunization at any point of time after vaccination," the statement read.

Deaths, hospitalizations or events causing disability or concern following any vaccination are categorised as serious or severe cases and are to be investigated at the district level, the government further stated.

"Causality assessments help to understand whether the event was caused due to the vaccine and are conducted at the state and national level. Therefore, any death or hospitalization following vaccination cannot be automatically assumed to be due to vaccination unless investigated by the AEFI Committees at the district, state and national level and attributed to the Vaccination," it added.

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