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Death of health worker unrelated to Covid-19 vaccine: AEFI Committee

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Investigating the death of a 56-year-old health worker at Bhangrola primary healthcare centre, who died of cardiac arrest within six days of being inoculated with Covid-19 vaccine on January 16, the Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) committee on Saturday drew an interim conclusion, stating that the death was unrelated to Covid-19 vaccine.

The final confirmation, however, will be given after the viscera autopsy report is issued by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS- Rohtak), said health officials privy to the matter.

Officials added that none of the other healthcare workers who took the vaccine from the same vial reported of any side effects. The victim, Rajwanti died on the night of January 22 — six days after taking the vaccine jab.

The 15-member committee comprising health officials, senior specialist doctors and forensic experts met on Saturday to discuss at length about the issue. According to them, the health worker was on medication. “The woman took medication for an ailment which might had led to QT prolongation (irregular heartbeat) and increased the risk of sudden cardiac death,” said Dr Virender Yadav, chief medical officer, in a statement issued by the health department.

Rajwanti’s autopsy report prepared by Gurugram mortuary does not come to any conclusion, according to officials. Therefore, the viscera samples have been sent for histopathology to PGIMS-Rohtak and the final report is awaited. According to the Covid-19 vaccine guidelines, in case of a death following vaccination,when the patient is not hospitalised or clinical records are unavailable, the family of the victim has to be motivated to give consent for post-mortem examination to identify the pathological cause of death.

“The final opinion can only be given after the complete information regarding the pre-existing medical history and post-mortem viscera reports are available,” said Yadav.

As per the official statement, the health worker attended her duties till Friday and reported no side effects due to vaccine during the observation period on the vaccination day and thereafter. She was found to be unresponsive on Friday morning. She was taken to a private hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.

On Saturday, three people reported minor side effects like fever, nausea and anxiety after being inoculated with Covishield. Till now, 24 cases of minor events due to vaccine have been reported, with 21 reported on Monday alone. “Three private healthcare workers who took the jab on Friday reported fever and nausea. None of them had to be hospitalised and have been asked to take paracetamol,” said Dr MP Singh, district immunisation officer.

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