A government panel of experts is investigating for any domestic cases of blood clotting, even mild ones, as a side effect of the two COVID-19 vaccines being administered in India, media reported on Friday, citing two people aware of the development.
India is reviewing around 700 ‘severe and serious’ adverse events reported from across the country after Covid vaccination in the light of global concerns over rare or unusual type of blood clots after receiving AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine, officials said.
A presentation made to the National AEFI (adverse event following immunisation) Committee on March 31 recorded that there had been 180 deaths till that time and three-fourths of the deaths happened within three days of the shot. In other serious adverse events too, the overwhelming majority took place in the three-day window.
“We are monitoring the cases closely and relooking at some of the unusual technical parameters in the wake of the reports raising concerns by the European regulator and the report by WHO,” a senior official, member of the national committee on adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) said.
India is currently administering AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute and branded Covishield, and a shot developed by Bharat Biotech called COVAXIN.
The presentation to National AEFI Committee on March 31, showed that over 90% of AEFI hospitalisations (276/305), more than 87% of cases of severe AEFI (55/63) and 93 out of 124 deaths happened within three days of the vaccination.
“The majority of reported AEFIs occurring soon after doing may also represent a reporting bias as events happening after the initial few days could be getting missed out,” Malini Aisola, a public health activist, has been quoted by section of media .
The review comes after Europe’s drug regulator said on Wednesday it found a possible link between AstraZeneca’s vaccine and rare blood clotting issues in adults who had received the shot, although it added the vaccine’s advantages still outweighed the risks.
India is banking on vaccinations to help contain a record surge in cases in its second wave. The country reported a massive 126,789 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
"We are looking at side-effects of blood clots that have been seen in people who received Covishield and Covaxin, even if it was a mild case," a source told business daily Mint, who added that a report on it was likely to be ready by next week.
Following Europe’s announcement, several countries have announced restrictions on the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in younger people.
In India, experts are looking at adverse events from both Covishield, as well as Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
The result of the analysis is likely to be finalised by end of this week.The official said the review is significant as globally regulators are waiting for India’s data because of the sheer number of doses of Covid vaccine administered here.