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India: Deaths post-vaccine raise alarm at rights groups

Health Ministry says only 7,580 people have shown mild adverse reactions after COVID-19 dose in 2nd half of January

Cheena Kapoor   | 08.02.2021
India: Deaths post-vaccine raise alarm at rights groups

NEW DELHI

Patient rights groups and India’s Health Ministry are at odds over the deaths of 23 people who received the locally manufactured COVID-19 vaccination.

All the deaths occurred within a few days of receiving the Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

Although the government has so far ruled out any connection between the sudden deaths and the vaccine, the Campaign for Dignified and Affordable Healthcare (CDAH) has pointed to what it calls an uncanny similarity between the fatalities.

“The government is not in a position to rule out relatedness of the deaths to vaccination as yet, since causality assessment has not been completed in most of the cases,” Malini Aisola of the group told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

She added that most of the deaths appear to have occurred due to heart attack/stroke. All the cases need to be investigated thoroughly in order to rule out any medical conditions leading to deaths post vaccination.

However, the Indian government did not attribute any of the deaths to COVID-19 vaccination in a report submitted to the Parliament on Feb. 6.

In a written response to the lower house of Parliament, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan confirmed that after mass vaccinations began on Jan. 16 through Jan. 31, 7,580 people had shown mild adverse reactions.

After minor adverse events following immunization like anxiety, vertigo, giddiness, dizziness, fever, pain, rashes, and headache, all the people recovered, he said.

“12 deaths i.e. 0.000319% death cases out of total number vaccinated until 31st of January 2021 [are] not causally related to vaccination presently,” he said.

He added that the deaths have been investigated and examined by medical experts, and that none of them have a causal connection to vaccination against COVID-19.

Over 5.8 million people have been inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine in India as of Monday morning, according to the Health Ministry.

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