The Union Health Ministry has reported the first death due to the Covid-19 vaccine in India.
A 68-year-old fully vaccinated man died on March 31, and his death has been labelled as a “vaccine product related reaction”. He had received his shot on March 8 and thereafter succumbed to “Anaphylaxis”, which can be a lethal allergic reaction in some cases.
The National Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) committee under the Union Health Ministry reported that 31 severe cases of adverse effect of the COVID-19 vaccines have been assessed since the vaccination drive was launched by the government in January this year. Of those 31 cases, 28 are deaths, according to a report by NDTV.
NK Arora, Advisor to the National AEFI Committee was quoted by NDTV as saying, “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.”
Out of the 31 cases that were reported, three were of “Anaphylaxis” where the individuals experienced a severe reaction half an hour after taking the vaccine shot. While two of them, both in their 20s, were discharged after their hospitalization, one person died.
18 cases turned out to be unrelated to vaccines and were classified as “coincidental”. For seven of these cases, no definite evidence was found to link the deaths to the COVID-19 vaccine. In two other cases, there was a lack of information to establish anything.
The health ministry said, “Overall, the benefits of vaccination are overwhelmingly greater than the small risk of harm.” They added that according to data from the first week of April, 2.7 deaths have occured and 4.8 hospitalizations have taken place for every one million vaccine doses administered. “Mere reporting of deaths and hospitalizations as serious adverse events did not automatically imply that the events were caused due to vaccines,” they reiterated.