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Centre Confirms First Death in India Due to COVID-19 Vaccination

The deceased was a 68-year-old man who received a COVID vaccine on 8 May and died of Anaphylaxis.

Updated
COVID-19
2 min read
Image used for representational purpose.
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For the first time since India began its vaccination drive in January, a government report acknowledged one death due to inoculation.

The National Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI), in its report on Tuesday, 15 June, said that a 68-year-old man, fully vaccinated, died on 31 March due to “vaccine product related reaction.”

The committee, under the Union Health Ministry, assessed 31 cases of which 28 were deaths.

“This is the first death where causality has been established, with vaccine resulting in an anaphylaxis reaction. But compared to the overall numbers, only a small number had a severe reaction. 31 cases were investigated and one death was due to vaccine, and among anaphylaxis cases, only two were found to be product-related. Most anaphylaxis reactions are managed.”
NK Arora, Advisor, National AEFI Committee told NDTV

Which vaccine the deceased received has not been revealed.

What Has the Committee Found

The AEFI has been studying the side effects of the COVID vaccines.

They reviewed 31 deaths caused by adverse reactions after vaccination, but found that 28 of these were not linked to the vaccines, although the cause of some of them is yet unknown.

However, they found that three cases of anaphylaxis had been caused by the vaccination, of which one death was confirmed.

Of the 25,90,44,072 vaccinations administered in India, this is the first case of fatality to be directly linked the vaccine, confirming that such adverse effects are rare.

Meanwhile, the Centre, in a press release, said that the benefits of vaccination are greater than the small risks attached.

“It is also important and pertinent to note that the mortality rates for those testing positive for COVID-19 disease is more than 1 percent 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 health ministry said.

On media reports suggesting that there were over 488 deaths following vaccination, the ministry said:

“It may be noted that the term ‘succumbed’ insinuates causality, ie, the deaths were caused due to vaccination. The number of deaths reported following COVID-19 vaccination in the country is only 0.0002 percent of 23.5 crore doses administered which is within the expected death rates in a population.”
Health Ministry
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What is Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction. It is, however, manageable with quick action.

The most effective treatment is giving the person experiencing anaphylaxis a shot of Epinephrine immediately.

According to WebMD, the first signs of anaphylaxis to look out for are:

  • Coughing, wheezing
  • Pain, tightness in chest
  • Dizziness, fainting
  • Rashes, hives, itchiness
  • Swollen or itchy lips and tongue
  • Swollen or itchy throat, hoarse voice
  • Paleness, weakness
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea, cramps.

The US CDC lists Anaphylaxis as a rare but possible allergic reaction to COVID vaccines.

(With inputs from India Today, Hindustan Times)

(This story was first published on FIT and has been republished here with permission.)

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