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Health Ministry Assures Covid Vaccines' Safety, Allays Concerns Over AEFIs & Immunization

The Health Ministry said that AEFIs reported in India are lowest so far in the world after 3 days of immunization drive and that the 2 vaccines are safe

Striking out the fears over the COVID-19 vaccination drive in India, the Health Ministry has said that only 0.018% of adverse events have been reported post-immunization, out of which, only 0.002% have been hospitalized. Allaying concerns over adverse events experienced post-immunization, the Health Ministry asserted that an extremely robust system to tackle AEFI (Adverse event following immunization) has been put in place. Moreover, the Centre remarked that the AEFIs reported in India are lowest so far in the world after 3 days of the immunization drive and added that the two COVID-19 vaccines approved - Covishied & Covaxin - are safe. 

Explaining the process to tackle AEFIs and elaborating more on the system set up, the Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday said, "In India, we have an extremely robust system of AEFI reporting and management. The first step is that all adversities following immunization are categorized into three categories. There is mild, severe and serious AEFI. In mild AEFI, anxiety or hysteria is also recorded." 

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"We must dispel this popular notion that AEFI means that people have lost consciousness and have been hospitalized. The second step is that every vaccination party is given an anaphylaxis kit to manage AEFI at the site itself. Each centre is mapped to an AEFI management centre. Usually, such AEFI management centres are medical facilities at the block level," he added. Apart from this, the Health Ministry clarified that the two cases of deaths reported after being administered with the vaccine had no relation with the immunization drive. 

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'It could be a game-changer'

Echoing similar views, member of Niti Aayog, Dr VK Paul assured that the data reviewed by the Government has affirmed that the two COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Calling for the hesitance over the vaccination to end, Dr Paul questioned that how will the pandemic be defeated if people are not immunized. Furthermore, he informed that a nasal vaccine candidate has been identified and is under consideration for phase-1 and phase-2 trials. 

"A nasal vaccine candidate has been identified. It has come for consideration for phase 1 and phase 2 trials. If it works then it could be a game-changer," Dr VK Paul, Member, Niti Aayog, said on Tuesday. 

Providing an update on the vaccination drive so far, the Health Ministry stated that 4,54,049 people have received shots till now. The Central Ministry added that it aims to surpass the number of people vaccinated under a week in the US, UK and France within just 3 days. 

"The cumulative positivity rate stands at 5.36% and the positivity if compared to the last week, then it is 1.99%. So there is a constant decline, both in cumulative positivity as well as the weekly positivity rate. Cases per million are 7600 and active cases are less than 2% of the total number of COVID-19 cases. Death per million is 110 and tests per million is 1,36,000," the Health Ministry said while accounting for the COVID-19 condition in India. 

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