As on March 29, a total of 180 deaths (29.2%) have been reported following vaccination across the country. Complete documentation is available only for 236 (38.3%) cases.
In all, 492 severe and serious AEFI have been classified by the AEFI Secretariat of the Immunisation Technical Support Unit (ITSU) at the Health Ministry. Classification has been completed for 124 deaths, 305 serious events that required hospitalisation, and 63 severe events that did not require hospitalisation.
Of the 124 deaths, more than 63 deaths (nearly 51%) have been categorised as being caused due to acute coronary syndrome (a range of conditions associated with sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart) or heart attack. Another 11 deaths (12%) of deaths are due to stroke.
As on March 17, the details of the causality assessment of only 13 AEFI including 10 deaths have already been made public by the national AEFI committee. The vaccine was not found to have caused death in any of the 10 vaccinated people.
However, in many cases post mortems have not been conducted. For example, in at least six out of 10 cases where the National AEFI Committee has completed causality assessment, no post mortem has been done, says Malini Aisola, a Public Health Researcher based in Delhi.
Virologist Dr. Jacob John, formerly of CMC Vellore, says that if deaths are not associated with vaccination, then they would be nearly evenly distributed across weeks post vaccination. However, there are 93 deaths in the first three days (31 deaths per day) and 18 deaths in four-seven days (4.5 deaths per day) after vaccination.
There have been 11 deaths in 8-28 days (0.5 deaths per day) post-vaccination. “Deaths are not evenly distributed,” he says. There is hence a compulsion to investigate the deaths more thoroughly for any association.