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2 people in India die after receiving Covid jab as Bharat Biotech says vaccine too risky for some

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Two people have died after being administered Covid-19 shots in India, but the government insists that the jabs are not to blame. Meanwhile, one drug manufacturer has advised some groups to forgo the vaccine.

On Sunday, a 52-year-old hospital worker in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh died a day after receiving the injection. The man’s son told local media that he believed his father died from side effects of the vaccine. He said his father had a “bit of pneumonia, cough and cold” before taking the shot, but “started feeling worse” after the injection. The man later complained of congestion and chest pain and was rushed to the hospital, where he was declared dead.

However, government officials claim that the individual succumbed to cardiac arrest, stressing that the fatality was “not related to the Covid-19 vaccination.” An autopsy revealed that the victim suffered from blood clots and had pockets of pus in his lungs. 

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The patient had been administered the Covishield vaccine and was kept in an observation room for 30 minutes after taking the shot, where he did not report any side effects, health officials claim. 

A second death was reported in Bellary in Karnataka. The 43-year-old male was vaccinated on Saturday and died on Monday. The government says the man suffered from cardiopulmonary failure. It’s unclear which drug he was given. India granted emergency approval to two variants of the Covid-19 vaccine earlier this month: Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, and Covishield, a jab based on the AstraZeneca/Oxford formula and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. 

The two individuals were among seven reported cases involving severe adverse reactions to the drug following the start of a nationwide immunization drive on Saturday, according to India Today. 

On Monday, Bharat Biotech issued a fact sheet which advised against taking the vaccine if a person suffers from “any allergies” or is immunocompromised. 

The document also said that people with fevers or bleeding disorders should not take the jab. 

India hopes to vaccinate 300 million people by August, beginning with 30 million doctors, nurses and other frontline workers. New Delhi has hailed the immunization drive, billed as the largest in the world, as a public health triumph, but lawmakers and watchdogs have accused the government of rushing approval for the two jabs. India’s indigenous jab Covaxin had not yet completed phase three trials, and there have also been transparency issues surrounding Covishield. 

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