13 Mar 2021: Looking at adverse effects: India on concerns over AstraZeneca vaccine
India is constantly looking at all the adverse side effects as it conducts a massive coronavirus vaccination program, a top medical expert said today.
The assurance came after several countries in Europe suspended the use of AstraZeneca's vaccine over the risk of blood clots in recipients.
AstraZeneca's is one of the two vaccines that are currently being used in India.
Here's more on this.
Statement: 'Not looking at a particular vaccine at the moment'
"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 (sic)," said Dr. NK Arora, a member of the National Task Force set up by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The ICMR is the nodal agency for the drive against COVID-19.
Statement: 'Closely following all adverse post-vaccination events'
"We are closely looking at all the AEFIs (Adverse Events Following Immunization) for both vaccines - COVAXIN and Covishied," Arora said.
There are two types of AEFIs - mild and serious, he further explained.
"Serious post-vaccination side effects include two categories - hospitalization and deaths. We are looking at all the serious adverse events (sic)."
Context: Several countries have paused the use of AstraZeneca vaccine
India has been administering doses of the indigenously-developed COVAXIN, and Covishield, which has been developed by Oxford University and Swedish-British firm AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India.
However, three European countries - Denmark, Norway, and Iceland - have paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precautionary measure after isolated reports of recipients developing blood clots surfaced.
WHO: Should continue using AstraZeneca vaccine, says WHO
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) had on Friday said that there is no reason to stop using AstraZeneca's vaccine.
"AstraZeneca is an excellent vaccine, as are the other vaccines that are being used," WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris told reporters in Geneva, according to AFP.
"Yes, we should continue using the AstraZeneca vaccine," she added.
Fact: Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has dismissed concerns
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca dismissed the concerns over its vaccine yesterday, saying, "An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any defined age group, gender, batch (sic)."
Situation: 2.8 crore doses administered across India so far
India had approved the use of both vaccines in January.
Since then, over 2.8 crore doses of these vaccines have been administered across the country.
India, the second worst-hit country in the outbreak, has witnessed over 1.13 crore infections and has been reporting a worrying surge in daily new cases.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected over 11.97 crore and claimed the lives of 26.53 lakh.