As India carries out the second phase of the COVID-19 inoculations, a top medical expert on Saturday, 13 March, stated that India is looking at all “serious” post-vaccination side effects as several countries suspend the use of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, which is known as ‘Covidshield’ in India, reported NDTV.
"“We are not looking at any particular vaccine at the moment. When the analysis is available, it will be reported, according to the vaccine, if there is any cause for concern.” " - Dr NK Arora, member of the National Task Force at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
Developed by Pune based Serum Institute of India in partnership with Oxford University and Swedish-British firm AstraZeneca, Covishield is one of the two main vaccines which were cleared by ICMR for inoculations.
The other vaccine is Covaxin, which was developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.
However, several European countries temporarily suspended the rollout of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine over fears of blood clots.
The health authorities in Denmark on 11 March said that they are temporarily suspending the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine as a precautionary measure after some patients developed blood clots since receiving the jab, including one who died, digital news publisher The Local reported.
Apart from Denmark, Norway and Iceland have also temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg have also stopped using the batch.
Apart from European countries, the United States has also not started using Covidshield as results of the vaccine's crucial clinical trial in the US are yet to be declared and the company has not yet applied for approval of the vaccine with the US regulators.
The US in May 2020 secured 300 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by pledging up to $1.2 billion if the vaccine proves to be effective.
‘No Death Proven by Vaccine, Safe to Use’: WHO
Even as several countries have temporarily suspended the use of Covidshield, the World Health Organisation on 12 March backed the vaccine, saying there is no reason to stop using it.
"“AstraZeneca is an excellent vaccine, as are the other vaccines that are being used.” " - Margaret Harris, WHO communications officer
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), stated on 13 March that the UN health agency “systematically reviews safety signals, and is carefully assessing the current reports on the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
“WHO is aware that some countries have suspended the use of AstraZeneca vaccines, based on reports of blood clots in some people who received doses of the vaccine from two batches. This measure was taken as a precaution while a full investigation is finalized,” Tedros said at a press briefing on 12 March.
. Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.‘India Looking At All Serious Post Vaccine Side-Effects’: ICMRAmarnath Yatra To Begin on 28 June, All COVID Sops To Be Followed . Read more on COVID-19 by The Quint.