A 56-year-old healthcare worker, who was administered the coronavirus vaccine, was found dead in her Gurugram residence on Friday, reported The Indian Express. Health department officials have, however, denied any links between the death and the vaccine.
Officials said that the woman, Rajwanti, was administered the Covishield vaccine on January 16 and had not reported any Adverse Effect Following Immunisation, or AEFI, till date. She was working at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Bhangrola.
“Her postmortem has been completed and no definite cause of death has been found,” Dr Virender Yadav, chief medical officer of Gurugram, said. “Her viscera has been sent for histopath and chemical examination.”
Yadav said that the preliminary report of the AEFI committee could not connect Rajwanti’s death directly to the vaccine. “The probable cause of death is sudden cardiac arrest,” he said. “However, final causes of death will be available after the viscera and FSL [forensic science laboratory] report of the postmortem report.”
The healthcare worker’s family have alleged that they suspect the vaccine to be the cause of her death. “Last night, we ate food together and went to sleep normally, in the same bed,” the woman’s husband, Lal Singh Saroha, said. “In the morning, when I tried to wake her up around 6 am, she did not respond. Then I tried to physically wake her up, but received no response.”
Saroha said that they took her to Medanta, where she was declared dead. “She did not have blood pressure or any other kind of illness. She was going for her duty continuously, but because this has happened so suddenly, we suspect she died due to the vaccine,” he said.
The woman’s nephew, Deepak, claimed that Rajwanti was reluctant to get the shot when it was launched and wanted to take a 10 days’ leave, The Hindu reported. She agreed to get immunised on the insistence of senior officials, who told her that she had already registered for it, Deepak said.
“She was due to retire in 2023, and had served the people selflessly even through coronavirus, when everyone else was sitting in their homes,” Deepak said. “She did not take even one day off.”
This is at least the fifth such case where a person died shortly after being administered the vaccine, since the inoculation drive began in the country on January 16. In all instances, the government had ruled out any link between the deaths and the vaccine. Deaths have been reported from Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. A man in Rajasthan had died on Thursday, five days after receiving the vaccine, India Today reported.
More than 3 lakh people were vaccinated in a day for the first time on Friday, according to data from the Union health ministry. As many as 13,90,592 people have been inoculated so far.
The Centre is planning to inoculate 30 crore people over the next few months. About 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers are being vaccinated first. After that, people over the age of 50 and those with comorbidities would get inoculated.
Meanwhile, India on Saturday reported 14,256 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,06,39,684. The new cases are 1.98% lower than Friday’s count. India’s toll rose by 152 to 1,53,184.