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Govt panel confirms first death linked to covid vaccination

A 68-year-old man died of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, after receiving a dose of Covishield vaccine on 8 March. (File Photo: AP)Premium
A 68-year-old man died of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, after receiving a dose of Covishield vaccine on 8 March. (File Photo: AP)

  • Mortality rates for those testing positive for covid-19 disease is more than 1% and vaccination can prevent these deaths. The risk of dying following vaccination is negligible as compared to the known risk of dying due to covid-19 disease

NEW DELHI: A government panel on Tuesday confirmed the first death due to side effects of covid-19 vaccination. A 68-year-old man died of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, after receiving a dose of Covishield vaccine on 8 March, according to a report by the national Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) committee.

An Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) is defined as any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunisation 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.

According to the report, the causality assessment was undertaken for 31 cases approved by the AEFI committee on 5 February (five cases), 9 March (eight cases) and 31 March (18 cases) after thorough review and deliberations. As per data in the first week of April, the reporting rate was 2.7 deaths and 4.8 hospitalisations per million vaccine doses given.

Of the 31 assessed cases, 18 were classified as having inconsistent causal association to vaccination, coincidental, not linked to vaccination, seven were classified as indeterminate, three cases were found to be vaccine related, one was anxiety related reaction, and two could not be classified. Vaccine product related reactions are expected and can be attributed to vaccination based on current scientific evidence. Examples of such reactions are allergic reactions and anaphylaxis, among others

Indeterminate reactions refer to those which occur soon after vaccination but have no definitive evidence in current literature or clinical trial data linking the reaction and vaccine. Further observations, analysis and studies are required.

"The mortality rates for that 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," the union health ministry said in a statement.

Public health experts have, however, cautioned that majority of vaccination centres may be able to handle anaphylactic shocks.

“Anaphylaxis shocks post vaccination can be handled usually with adrenalin and deaths can be prevented. There is a need to train the medical staff to handle such events," said Lalit Kant, a scientist and former head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research.

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