There’s no link between deaths and Covid vaccination in India: Panel

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New Delhi: The National Adverse Event Following Immunisation (NAEFI) committee has not found any link between the deaths and vaccination in the cases that it has investigated so far.

Out of 39 total deaths, the NAEFI has reviewed 12 cases and has found that the deaths were “unrelated” with no link to the vaccine.

“So far, the experts have not found any link between the vaccine and the deaths,” said a government official, who did not wish to be identified.

The NAEFI is likely to meet again this week.

Most of the cases which were assessed by the panel had comorbidities, according to the official. “The majority of cases have comorbidities like severe hypertension, diabetes. One case was found with a history of major heart condition. We have not found any association of these deaths with the vaccination,” said the official.

“The MBBS doctor from AIIMS Rishikesh who died after 11 days of Covid vaccination had herpes simplex encephalitis, a rare neurological disorder, and died due to it and not because of the vaccine, the committee found,” he said.

Nearly two dozen scientists and public health experts had earlier written to Union health minister Harsh Vardhan and Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani, urging them to investigate the deaths.

The experts have been meeting every week and reviewing the cause of deaths.

The Centre has been dismissing concerns over safety of the vaccines, saying there is no evidence so far to suggest a link between the vaccines and deaths.

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the government is following a structured mechanism to monitor adverse events following immunisation.

“The state AEFI committees have deliberated on all these matters. There is no evidence of deaths caused due to the vaccination and once the National AEFI Committee meets and deliberates on this, the data will be shared in public domain,” Bhushan had earlier said.

NITI Aayog member VK Paul had earlier said, “The vaccines are safe. The vaccines have been tested on thousands of people and the side effects are negligible. There is no risk of any significance.”

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