Odisha government has constituted an eight-member technical committee to study the cause of COVID infection among people even after complete vaccination. The state government has set up the panel after noticing that several coronavirus infections are being reported among people who have completed the full vaccination schedule.
"This needs further epidemiological, microbiological, immunological, genome and clinical studies for planning or preparedness of the state for possible future waves of COVID-19," a notification issued by the health department says.
The move comes as a part of its planning to tackle the possible third COVID wave. The technical committee headed by Institute of Life Science, Bhubaneswar director Dr Ajay Parida will have seven other experts as its members.
"The technical committee will report its observation to the state for guidance and further action," the notification signed by PK Mohapatra, additional chief secretary, health and family welfare, mentioned.
Meanwhile Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh too has directed an expert group headed by Dr Gagandeep Kang to start studying the effectiveness of vaccines in the context of the new variants of the coronavirus.
He underlined the need to get more samples analysed to have a clear picture and formulate a proper strategy.
The state’s advisor Dr KK Talwar says an expert group was being constituted to analyse the audit of patients who had been on ventilator during the second wave to provide learnings for the future.
Earlier this week, for the first time, a central government panel studying adverse side-effects of COVID-19 vaccine confirmed the death of a person in the country after getting the jab.
The panel, which released data for vaccinations only till the first week of April, examined five deaths reported following vaccination on 5th February, eight cases from 9th March and 18 cases from 31st March.
A 68-year-old man died on 31st March due to anaphylaxis (a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction) after he was administered a coronavirus vaccine, according to a report by the Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) committee under the union health ministry.
AEFI committee advisor NK Arora says the panel has assessed 31 severe cases reported since the government launched the vaccine drive in January.
“This is the first death where causality has been established, with vaccine resulting in an anaphylaxis reaction. But compared to the overall numbers, only a small number had a severe reaction,” Arora said.
As per the panel, while the reporting rate was 2.7 deaths and 4.8 hospitalisations per million vaccine doses administered, it did not automatically imply that the deaths or hospitalisations were caused due to vaccines. Only proper investigation and causality assessments can help establish any causal relationship, the report says.
According to Mr Arora, of the 31 cases of adverse events, three were reported as anaphylaxis half an hour after the shot. Two of them were hospitalised and discharged, but one died.
Eighteen cases were found to be unrelated to vaccines and classified as “coincidental”. There were two cases of hospitalisation linked to vaccines.
In seven cases, there is no definite evidence to link the deaths to vaccines. In two cases, there is not enough information.