India has 26 cases of bleeding, clotting after Covishield vaccine: Government report

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Updated: May 18, 2021, 08:51 AM IST


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This is the first time India has reported any serious reaction to the use of the vaccine, branded locally as Covishield.

A government panel on AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) has found 26 potential cases of bleeding and clotting after administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, health ministry said on Monday.

According to the statement by the ministry, over 23,000 adverse events have been reported since the vaccination drive involving Covishield and Covaxin vaccines started in the country and of these 700 cases were reported to be serious.

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Some countries have suspended or restricted the use of the shot over fears of possible side effects, though health experts have said its benefits outweigh the risks.

This is the first time India has reported any serious reaction to the use of the vaccine, branded locally as Covishield.

The panel said it had studied 498 (of 700) "serious and severe events" and found that only 26 had been reported as "potential thromboembolic events", referring to the potentially fatal formation of a blood clot that could break loose and be carried by the bloodstream to block another vessel.

“There were no potential thromboembolic events reported following administration of Covaxin vaccine,” the ministry said. As alerts were raised in some countries on post-vaccination embolic and thrombotic events on March 11 particularly with the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine (Covishield), a decision was taken to conduct an urgent in-depth analysis of the adverse events (AE) in India in the light of global concerns, the ministry said. The National AEFI committee noted that as of April 3, 75,435,381 vaccine doses had been administered (Covishield- 68,650,819; Covaxin- 6,784,562).

“Of these, 65,944,106 were first doses and 9,491,275 second dose. Since the COVID-19 vaccination drive was initiated more than 23,000 adverse events were reported through the CO-WIN platform reported from 684 of the 753 districts of the country. “Of these, only 700 cases (@ 9.3 cases /million doses administered) were reported to be serious and severe in nature,” the statement said.

“The AEFI data in India showed that there is a very miniscule but definitive risk of thromboembolic events. The reporting rate of these events in India is around 0.61/million doses, which is much lower than the 4 cases/million reported by UK’s regulator Medical and Health Regulatory Authority (MHRA). Germany has reported 10 events per million doses,” the statement stated.

Thromboembolic events keep occurring in the general population as background and scientific literature suggests that this risk is almost 70 per cent less in persons of South and South-East Asian descent in comparison to those of European descent. The ministry is separately issuing advisories to healthcare workers and vaccine beneficiaries to encourage people to be aware of suspected thromboembolic symptoms occurring within 20 days after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine (particularly Covishield) and report preferably to the health facility where the vaccine was administered.

The symptoms listed are breathlessness, pain in chest, pain in limbs/pain on pressing limbs or swelling in limbs (arm or calf), multiple, pinhead size red spots or bruising of skin in an area beyond the injection site, persistent abdominal pain with or without vomiting, seizures in the absence of the previous history of seizures with or without vomiting, severe and persistent headache with or without vomiting (in the absence of the previous history of migraine or chronic headache).

The symptoms also include weakness or paralysis of limbs or any particular side or part of the body (including face), persistent vomiting without any obvious reason, blurred vision or pain in eyes or having double vision, change in mental status or having confusion or depression level of consciousness or any other symptom or health condition which is of concern to the recipient of the family. The ministry said that Covishield continues to have a definite positive benefit-risk profile with tremendous potential to prevent infections and reduce deaths due to COVID-19 across the world and in India.

Over 134 million doses of the Covishield vaccine have been administered as of 27 April in India. The ministry is continuously monitoring the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines and is promoting reporting of suspected adverse events.

(With inputs from agencies)