Covid-19 vaccination: 'All deaths following inoculation cannot be linked to it,' says health ministry
The Union ministry of health and family welfare on Tuesday dismissed reports that claimed that a high number of deaths following vaccination for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) are taking place and these are linked to post-Covid complications. These reports, according to the ministry, were based on "incomplete and limited understanding" of the process.
"There have been some media reports suggesting an increase in the cases of severe AEFI which have also resulted in ‘succumbing of patients’ post vaccination. As per the media reports, 488 deaths following vaccination are linked to post-Covid complications during 16th Jan 2021 and 7th June 2021 period where the total vaccination coverage was 23.5 crore," the ministry said.
Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) is when any untoward medical occurrence that follows immunisation, but it does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine.
Deaths or other serious conditions following vaccination are to be investigated at the district level, the ministry said, adding that the state government and the Centre will assess if the causality is linked to the vaccination. "Therefore, any death or hospitalisation following vaccination cannot be automatically assumed to be due to vaccination unless investigated by the AEFI Committees at the district, state and national level and attributed to the Vaccination," the ministry said.
"Healthcare workers, doctors and vaccine recipients have been always encouraged by the government of India as well as state governments to report all deaths, hospitalisations and events resulting in disability as well as any minor and adverse events following immunization at any point of time after vaccination," it added.
Issuing a clarification on the data, the ministry said that the reports were not accurate.
The percentage of deaths being reported after vaccination in India is 0.0002% of 23.5 crore doses administered, the ministry said, adding that this was within the expected death rates in a population. "In a population, deaths occur at a certain rate. Crude death rate in 2017 as per SRS data is 6.3 per 1000 persons annually," the ministry said, providing further context.