New Delhi, June 15: A government panel studying COVID-19 vaccine side effects has confirmed the first death due to anaphylaxis following vaccination.

The causality assessment of 31 reported Serious Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) cases following COVID-19 vaccination was carried out by the panel.

According to a report by the National AEFI Committee, a 68-year-old man died due to anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) after being vaccinated on March 8, 2021.

"It is the first death linked to COVID-19 vaccination due to anaphylaxis. It re-emphasises the need to wait for 30 minutes at the inoculation centre after receiving the jab. Most of the anaphylactic reactions occur during this period and prompt treatment prevents deaths, Dr NK Arora, chairperson, National AEFI committee, told PTI.

The Committee examined five such cases that took place on February 5, eight cases on March 9 and 18 cases on March 31.

As per data in the first week of April, the reporting rate is 2.7 deaths per million vaccine doses administered and 4.8 hospitalisations per million vaccine doses administered, the report stated.

The panel said mere reporting of deaths and hospitalisations as serious adverse events does not automatically imply that the events were caused due to vaccines.

Only properly conducted investigations and causality assessments can help in understanding if any causal relationship exists between the event and the vaccine, the report said, adding for causality assessments, priority has been given to death cases.

Of the 31 causally assessed cases, 18 were classified as having inconsistent causal association to vaccination (coincidental - not linked to vaccination), 7 were classified as indeterminate, 3 cases were found to be vaccine product related, 1 was anxiety related reaction and two cases were found to be unclassifiable, the government panel report said.

Vaccine product related reactions are expected reactions that can be attributed to vaccination based on current scientific evidence, it said.

Examples of such reactions are allergic reactions and anaphylaxis, etc. Indeterminate reactions are reactions which have occurred soon after vaccination but there is no definitive evidence in current literature or clinical trial data that this event could have been caused due to the vaccine, the report said, adding further observations, analysis and studies are required.

In the two other cases of anaphylaxis, two persons were given vaccines on January 19 and 16 and both of them were hospitalised and have since recovered.

Unclassifiable events are events which have been investigated but there is not enough evidence for assigning a diagnosis due to missing crucial information. When this relevant information becomes available, the case may be reconsidered for causality assessment.

Coincidental events are events that are reported following immunisation but for which a clear cause other than vaccination is found on investigation.

The panel said benefits of vaccination are overwhelmingly greater than the small risk of harm and as a measure of utmost precaution, all emerging signals of harm are being constantly tracked and reviewed periodically.

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court on Saturday observed that no student above the age of 18 years, teachers, and staff can be allowed to attend schools and colleges unless they have received at least one jab of the COVID vaccine.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum was hearing a PIL filed by Mangaluru doctor Srinivas B Kakkilaya and others. The bench dismissed the PIL and said at least one dose of the COVID vaccine should be mandatorily taken by those attending schools and colleges.

The PIL had claimed that the circular issued by the state government on July 16, 2021, making vaccination mandatory in nature was in violation of fundamental rights as guaranteed under Articles 14 and 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution of India.

It had also added that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has maintained that the vaccination does not prevent the spread of the virus hence has little potential of stopping the pandemic.

According to the petitioners, such discrimination based on unreasonable classification, such as status of vaccination of an individual, is curbing the rights to practice any profession. The petitioners further claimed that the circular violates the dictum of the Supreme Court in the Common Cause Vs Union of India (2018) case which recognized the right, choice, and liberty of an individual to prefer the medicine of his/ her choice.

“We are of the considered view that no student, teacher or staff who have not received vaccines shall be permitted to attend the school or college, where the students gather in large numbers and risk them. As such no directions can be issued to permit such teachers, students, or staff who have not received at least one dose of vaccine to attend colleges in terms GO dated July 16, 2021,” the court said.