Concerns around the safety of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine haven't deterred India's inoculation drive with the country saying the jab is safe and that the nationwide vaccination programme can continue.
The Serum Institute of India has manufactured the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Covishield, in the country, which is being used along with the indigenous Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in the mass inoculation drive being carried out across India.
Out of 38 autopsy reports, the National Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) committee reviewed of people who died after receiving the vaccination, nothing linked the deaths or adverse events to vaccination.
"There are 71 deaths. We have received 38 autopsy reports so far. There is nothing to suggest that these were linked to vaccination," a source told the Business Standard, adding that review of adverse events post-vaccination is a continual process and is a continual process and is monitored for each and every vaccine administered in the country, just as measles, polio etc.
"For Covishield, and even Covaxin, this review would continue. We expect to come out with a detailed review report in a day or two," the person stated.
Meanwhile, NITI Aayog member VK Paul said that although there were concerns about the correlation of AstraZeneca with thrombotic events, the European Medical Agency (EMA) has stated that halting the inoculation programme was a preventive step.
"India's own group has been seized with this issue for the last few days and is tracking the matter in a systematic manner. We have no signal of concern in this regard. Our programme with Covishield vaccination will go on with full vigour," Paul noted during the weekly briefing on the COVID-19 situation in India.
He added that the WHO (World Health Organization) has said that while the probe into the issue should continue, the scaling up of vaccines should not be paused.
"Their advice is - go on," Paul stated adding that "we are mindful of the fact to address this concern based on the data available to us. We are also watching the information being made."
Several European countries comprising Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Austria, Romania, the Netherlands, among others, have temporarily halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precautionary step.
The nations are awaiting the outcome of the EMA and WHO investigation, which is probing the likelihood of a link between the vaccine and blood clots.
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