India confirms first death due to Covid vaccine side effects

New Delhi, Jun 15 (EFE).- India on Tuesday confirmed the first death due to an adverse reaction to an anti-Covid vaccine, the only such incident verified by Indian authorities so far even as more than 250 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country in nearly five months.

A 68-year-old man died due to anaphylaxis after receiving a dose of Covishield – developed by British-Swedish lab AstraZeneca – on Mar. 8, the Indian health ministry’s national Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) committee said in a report.

The death, classified as a reaction linked to the vaccine, is one of three such events directly attributable to anti-Covid immunization out of the 31 cases investigated by the committee, including deaths that took place soon after vaccination.

“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,” the advisor to the AEFI committee, NK Arora, was quoted as saying by local media outlets.

The other two incidents of anaphylaxis – or severe reaction to vaccines – were confirmed in a man aged 22 and a 21-year old woman, after receiving a dose of indigenous vaccine Covaxin and Covishield respectively

“Of the 31 causally assessed cases, 18 were classified as having an inconsistent causal association to vaccination (coincidental – not linked to vaccination), 7 were classified as indeterminate, 3 cases were found to be vaccine product related, 1 was anxiety-related reaction and 2 cases were found to be unclassifiable,” the AEFI report said.

Overall, an average of 2.7 deaths have been reported per million doses administered, while 4.8 hospitalizations per million doses have also been registered.

However, the health ministry clarified that “mere reporting of deaths and hospitalizations as serious adverse events did not automatically imply that the events were caused due to vaccines.”

India has so far administered around 256 million vaccine doses, including 225 million Covishield doses and 31 million doses of Covaxin.

The health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the number of deaths reported after vaccination was just 0.0002 percent of the administered doses, and fell within the “expected death rates in a population.”

“It is also important and pertinent to note 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 said. EFE


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