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Govt panel to probe side effects of Covishield, Covaxin vaccines

BusinessToday.In     April 9, 2021

A team of experts is probing if there are any cases of blood clotting -- even mild ones -- of the two anti-coronavirus vaccines being administered in the country. The move by the national committee on adverse effects following immunisation (AEFI) has come after the European's regulator said it found rare cases of blood clots among some adult recipients who were given AstraZeneca-Oxford university's vaccine shots.  Although it still believes the vaccine's benefits outweigh its risks. Moreover, the UK regulator also advised that people below 30 years of age with no other condition should be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In India, the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, is making AstraZeneca-University of Oxford's vaccine, known as Covishield. Also, Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech has invented Covaxin.

A dozen of countries have suspended or partially suspended the use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine's shot due to concerns regarding efficacy in older people and worries about rare dangerous side effects in younger people.

Both the EU and UK have together administered vaccines to around 3.4 crore people as of April 4, while in India over 9.11 crore doses have been given. However, India's committee on adverse side-effects following immunisation has so far studied only 13 cases of severe side effects of the coronavirus vaccine. On the other hand, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had reviewed more than 200 cases of blood clots alone as of April 4. Notably, the EMA panel's review also included five people in India under the age of 70 who had died due to heart attack after vaccination. However, the central government rejected the EMA's claim and asserted that the deaths "were not related to the vaccine".

"We are looking at side-effects of blood clots that have been seen in people who received Covishield and Covaxin, even if it was a mild case," Livemint reported citing sources. At over 8.3 crore, AstraZeneca's Covishield vaccine accounts for 90 per cent of the doses administered in India so far. The remaining 81 lakh doses are of Bharat Biotech International's Covaxin.

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