Amid blood clot concerns, India to review side effects of AstraZeneca COVID vaccine
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Following the suspension of AstraZeneca shots in several European countries over blood clots concerns, India has decided to review the post-vaccination side effects of 'Covishield', said a top medical expert.
Speaking to news agency AFP, NK Arora, member of the National Task Force on COVID-19, said that the government is looking at all adverse events, "particularly serious adverse events like deaths and hospitalisation".
He, however, said that there is no immediate concern as the "number of adverse events in the country is very very low", adding that only 60 "coincidental" deaths have been reported so far.
"We are relooking at (adverse events that were reported) to see if there was any issue of blood clotting," Arora told AFP.
"In fact there is a real effort from our side that once complete investigation is done, to put its results in public domain, on the ministry of health website," Arora added.
AstraZeneca, which is being locally developed by Serum Institue of India (SII), was approved for emergency use authorisation along with Bharat Biotech's Covaxin by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in January this year. So far, nearly 28 million vaccine shots, most of them AstraZeneca, have been given in India.
While several European countries have stopped the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the company on Friday defended its vaccine saying that there was "no evidence of an increased risk" of blood clots.
"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 or in any particular country with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca," the company said in a statement.
"In fact, the observed number of these types of events are significantly lower in those vaccinated than would be expected among the general population," it added.
Though several countries have stopped the usage of AstraZeneca vaccine, a number of nations -- including Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Mexico and Nigeria -- stood by the shot and reassured citizens of its safety.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Thursday that it did not recommend suspending use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, stating that there is "no indication" the vaccine caused the blood clots in the people who received the vaccine. The agency told countries they could keep rolling out the shot while investigations take place.
"The vaccine's benefits continue to outweigh its risks and the vaccine can continue to be administered while the investigation of cases of thromboembolic events is ongoing," it said.
(With AFP and ANI inputs)
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma