Can’t deny the possibility of the adverse effect of the vaccine, says Centre

The Centre said that the likelihood of an adverse event after being vaccinated for COVID-19 cannot be ruled out, adding that states and union territories have been directed to remain prepared for this. Health Ministry Secretary said that adverse events following immunization for COVID-19 vaccine are critical aspect and the Centre has asked each state to identify at least one adverse event following immunisation in each block.

Possibility of adverse event after COVID vaccination can't be ruled out;  states, UTs should be prepared: Govt

Protocols have been established for the management of adverse reactions – minor, severe or serious – to the coronavirus vaccine, the government said in a press briefing held Tuesday evening, as it admitted that there is always “the possibility of an adverse event” post-immunisation.

Can't Deny Possibility of Covid-19 Vaccine Adverse Event, States & UTs  Should Be Prepared: Govt

“Even during universal immunisation programmes, which have been going on for decades, some adverse effects are seen in children and pregnant women after they are administered shots.

“So, we can’t deny the possibility of an adverse event when the COVID-19 vaccination begins. In countries where inoculation has already started, especially in the UK, adverse events took place on the very first day. So, it is essential that states and union territories prepare for this too,” Bhushan said. 

Detailed instructions on infection prevention and control practices during vaccination and management of minor, severe, serious AEFI have been issued to states by the Centre, he said. “States have been asked to identify at least one AEFI management centre in each block.PHCs, CHCs, district hospitals, private health facilities or any other fixed health facility with medical officers and para-medical staff can be identified as AEFI management centres,” he said.

Further, every session site has to be linked to a designated AEFI management centre and AEFI can also be reported through Co-WIN,–a digitalised platform, which will be used to track enlisted beneficiaries for the vaccination and anti-coronavirus vaccines on a real-time basis, he added.

The government has also set up a multi-level mechanism to oversee the vaccination drive at different levels and said that 36 states and union territories had already held over 600 meetings.

“There are a large number of beneficiaries to be tackled in a small period of time, so it is a bigger challenge,” Dr VK Paul, a member of government think-tank NITI Aayog, said.

Dr Paul also said the government was aware of the reports of fungal infections in Covid-recovered patients at a Delhi hospital. “New things are being discovered with the disease constantly,” he said, adding that the doctors at the facility would take necessary action.

Today’s press briefing also discussed the issue of cold chain management – crucial since the vaccine developed by US pharma giant Pfizer needs to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius to maintain efficacy.

The government said guidelines to manage cold chains and end-of-chain cold points (or vaccination delivery sites had been issued. 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators will be used at vaccination sites and storage centres.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be offered first to healthcare workers, frontline workers and persons above 50, followed by persons younger than 50 with associated comorbidities, and finally to the remaining population-based on disease epidemiology and vaccine availability.

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