Millennium Post (Kolkata)
Covishield may be under ‘scanner’ as Denmark bans AstraZeneca’s vaccine
NEW DELHI: As Denmark has become the first country in the European Union to drop AstraZeneca's vaccine from its Covid-19 inoculation programme, the claims of government over the safety of Indian version of AstraZeneca vaccine — Covishield — has also come under the ‘scanner'.
According to other beneficiaries, who have been administered Covishield vaccine during the nationwide inoculation programme, the side effects of the vaccine vary from person to person. Some of them have complained of high fever after taking the vaccine, while there are other beneficiaries who have not yet experienced any postvaccination side effects.
While talking to Millennium Post, Prema Pandey (name changed on request) said that she had developed high-fever after a few hours of the vaccination, which continued for a few days and even after eight days of the vaccination, the problem persisted. However, the government has asserted that Covishield is safe and there is ‘no signal of concern' regarding it. The AEFI committee which closely keeps track and records adverse events following immunisations had “concluded that thrombosis events due to Covishield in India are not a problem”.
ICMR Director-General Balram Bhargava had claimed that both Covishield and Covaxin are effective against the UK and the Brazilian variants.
Though the experts have opined that even if the claims of the government are standing tall, the decision taken by Denmark may put the safety claims of the vaccine manufacture under suspicion.
Notably, the government has stopped giving details about adverse effects following immunization (AEFI) since February 28. As per the Danish Health Authority, the country has decided to “continue the roll-out of its vaccination programme without AstraZeneca as there is a link between rare, but serious side effects.
Denmark was one of the first countries to suspend the vaccine on March 11 after reports of blood clots. At that time, the Danish Health Authority called the decision a precautionary move and reiterated its view that Astra's vaccine was “effective and safe.”
Both European and British drug regulators have said that they found a link between Astra's vaccine and blood clots, but stressed that benefits still outweigh the risks.