Extend Side-effects Monitoring of Covid-19 Vaccine to 28 Days, Says Public Health Expert

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Days after the duration between Covishield vaccine dosage was increased, a public health official has recommended that all states should monitor vaccine recipients for adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) for 28 days. Currently, the recipients are being monitored for 72 hours after the jab is administered.

Dr. NK Arora, a member of the national AEFI Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) committee told The Times of India that with more vaccines set to enter the market, monitoring for side effects should be enhanced. All AEFI data will soon be up on a public portal, a move many health experts have been calling for, he added.

Out of nearly seven crore vaccine recipients assessed so far, Dr. Arora said out less than 0.5% of cases have involved serious AEFIs. "We have submitted detailed analyses to the government. The data should be out soon," he added.

He further emphasised on longer monitoring durations and said that all states should now direct local authorities to develop a mechanism that will allow recipients to report side effects for 28 days. And the system should record such events and should later update them on the CoWin website.

Meanwhile, public health officials are calling for the release of AEFI data and they said that publicly available information on side-effects can help reduce vaccine hesitancy. All the Covid-19 vaccines are new and experts and extensive follow-ups are needed, experts added.

However, the government is also expected to issue guidelines on adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) soon. These guidelines will help doctors as well as Covid-19 vaccine recipients to identify and treat unusual signs and symptoms.

So far, there have been five types of AEFIs- vaccine product-related reaction, vaccine quality defect-related reaction, immunisation error, immunisation anxiety-related reaction, and coincidental event. It's the job of the national AEFI committee to determine the type of event that has affected a recipient.

None of the 79 deaths reported to have occurred after the Covid vaccination in the country has been directly linked to the vaccines, a top government official has said.

By the end of this year, the country is expected to get 25-30 crore doses available per month with international vaccines arriving too, the Centre said earlier this week.

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