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Experts to probe cause of sudden deaths among those vaccinated

TV Jayan New Delhi | Updated on March 26, 2021

“There is no causal linkage between adverse events and the vaccine, except for anaphylaxis, or severe allergy”

 

Experts investigating deaths and serious adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) reported during the Covid-19 vaccination drive will probe into a few cases of sudden deaths reported among those vaccinated, a top official said on Thursday.

“There were a few cases of sudden death among the people who received the vaccination. These sudden deaths, across the age spectrum, are being investigated. We do not have much details. But some of them had (undergone) post-mortem. So, those reports are awaited,” said Narendra Kumar Arora, Member of National Task Force on Covid-19, told BusinessLine.

Till Wednesday, over 5.31 crore Covid-19 vaccine shots have been administered in the country.

Among those vaccinated, 79 deaths have been reported till March 13. More than 50 per cent died either due to heart attack or brain strokes, which is very similar to what is found in elderly people in the general population.

“The number of deaths among the vaccinated hasn’t crossed 150 mark, even though there were over 5 crore vaccinations so far,” a source didn’t want to be named said. Nearly 45 per cent deaths were due to heart attacks and 7 to 10 per cent because of the stroke, the source said.

‘No causal linkage’

The experts looking into AEFIs were already given background rates for myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and strokes among Indian population much before the vaccination was launched here. Subsequently, they were told to gather age-specific mortality data for these two causes of mortality in general population. The data that they thus collected came in handy while analysing these deaths among the vaccinated people.

“There is no causal linkage between adverse events and the vaccine, except for anaphylaxis, or severe allergy. All these were managed adequately without poor outcome because these were picked up within that half an hour period when people develop the severe allergy. That is why waiting for half an hour after the vaccination is very important,” said Dr Arora.

Analysing deaths and AEFIs has become a regular feature now. “The data will be submitted to the ministry on a weekly basis now on,” said Arora.

Experts want probe

A group of 29 independent experts, including the country’s top virologist T Jacob John, wrote to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Drugs Controller General of India and others on March 16 to start an “urgent investigation into deaths and serious adverse events following administration of Covid-19 vaccine.

Published on March 25, 2021

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