covid vaccine

Various Covid vaccines have been developed in unprecedented record time due to the widely voiced urgency . The normal time for development of a vaccine before the advent of Covid was a decade. However in exceptional conditions various Covid vaccines have been made available in about a year’s time. Therefore several experts have been emphasizing the need  for very careful monitoring of safety issues.

On April 23 the latest data on adverse events following Covid vaccine for the USA was released for the roughly six month period December 14 2020 to April 16 2021. According to this official data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA ( CDC) on the basis of  VAERS reporting , 86080 reports of adverse events following Covid vaccines were recorded, including 3186 deaths and 10152 serious injuries.

This data has to be investigated further before a causal relationship can be firmly established. Nevertheless it is  important that 26% of the reported deaths took place within 48 hours of vaccination while 17% of the reported deaths took place within 24 hours. 41% of deaths took place among people who became ill within 48 hours of vaccination.

Concerned citizens have demanded that as these are significant numbers, there should be more careful research on  why some people are more susceptible than others  to injury, so that the possibilities of injuries can be minimized on the basis of the findings of such research.

What is more such citizens and groups are also expressing apprehension that the actual number of injuries and deaths is likely to be several times higher as these are widely known to be highly under-reported in the existing Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). In this context  attention has been drawn also to a comprehensive, official study conducted in year 2010   which stated that the VAERS system captures less than 1% of vaccine injuries. There are other studies  which confirm substantial under-reporting. If such is the situation in the USA where there is so much scrutiny and questioning at several levels, one shudders to think of the situation in several other countries. There is clearly need for much better reporting and records based on robust science.

It has also been alleged that there have been several anecdotal reports of people being blocked when trying to report deaths and injuries related to COVID vaccine to VAERS.

This brings us back to the various words of caution voiced from time to time regarding safety of vaccines in recent times. The USA was among those countries where very massive efforts were coordinated under the directions of President  Trump   to speed up the development and supply of Covid vaccines in very exceptional and unprecedented ways. What is more, the USA is a trend-setter in this as well as several areas of health technology. Hence what happens in the USA has an impact in many countries .

Keeping in view all these factors, it will be extremely useful for safety and public trust if the system of monitoring adverse events following Covid  vaccines is improved in the USA as well as in other countries . Keeping in view the substantial under-reporting , there should be ways of preparing realistic estimates and in addition the reported data can also be  better analyzed to find out higher susceptibilities and to improve safety record on the basis of such careful analysis.

Bharat Dogra is a journalist and author. His recent books include Protecting Earth For Children and Man Over Machine ( Gandhian ideas for our times).


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