As India remains overburdened under the weight of the deadly second wave of COVID-19 virus, getting vaccinated at large remains the sole hope of returning to normalcy. But there's hindrance as vaccine hesitancy poses a real threat to the inoculation drive. One of the biggest obstacles keeping people from getting the jab is the fear of adverse effects. There have been international reports about the AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine causing blood clots, which triggered fear in people from getting the Covishield jab.

In a bid to allay those fears, a panel on AEFI (adverse events following immunisation) told the Union Health Ministry on Monday that the number of bleeding and clotting events after getting a COVID jab in India remains minuscule. As per the panel, which studied 498 out of 700 serious or severe events and found only 26 of them reporting "potential thromboembolic events," which refer to the formation of a blood clot that could break free and be carried by the bloodstream to block another vessel.

Covishield Vaccine

The panel said that Covishield reported fewer than 0.61 cases per million doses administered, which is significantly lower than what was reported by the UK's health regulator and even Germany, which was at four cases per million and 10 per million, respectively.

"It is important to know that thromboembolic events keep occurring in the general population... background and scientific literature suggests this risk is almost 70 per cent less in persons of South and South East Asian descent in comparison to those from European descent," the panel said.

What should you watch out for?

Blood Clot
Blood Clot (Representational Picture)Wikimedia Commons

The panel also enlisted symptoms for people to watch out for to be aware of suspected thromboembolic events. They include:

  1. Breathlessness
  2. Pain in chest
  3. Pain in limbs/pain on pressing limbs or swelling in limbs (arm or calf)
  4. multiple, pinhead size red spots or bruising of skin in an area beyond the injection site
  5. Persistent abdominal pain with or without vomiting
  6. Seizures in the absence of previous history of seizures with or without vomiting
  7. Severe and persistent headache with or without vomiting (in the absence of previous history of migraine or chronic headache)
  8. Weakness/paralysis of limbs or any particular side or part of the body (including face)
  9. Persistent vomiting without any obvious reason
  10. Blurred vision or pain in eyes or having double vision
  11. Change in mental status or having confusion or depressed level of consciousness
  12. Any other symptom or health condition which is of concern to the recipient or the family

"Covishield, the COVID-19 vaccine, continues to have a definite positive benefit risk profile with tremendous potential to prevent infections and reduce deaths due to COVID-19 across the world and in India. Over 13.4 crore doses of Covishield vaccine have been administered as on 27 April 2021 in India. MoHFW is continuously monitoring the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines and is promoting reporting of suspected adverse events," the panel concluded.