Deaths trigger AEFI inquiry; job, land promised for kin of A.P. health worker
Days after being vaccinated for COVID-19, Bokka Vijayalakshmi, a 42-year-old Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) from Undavalli in Andhra Pradesh, died at the Government General Hospital (GGH) on Sunday. In Telangana, a 45-year-old female healthcare worker died, four days after receiving a vaccine.
Vijayalakshmi, along with other doctors and staff members, got the vaccine from the first vial at the Primary Health Centre (PHC) in Tadepalli. Doctors said the woman might have died due to Thrombogenic Ischemic Demyelination, a brain stroke.
Ischemic Demyelination is a condition listed among those falling under Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI), but an investigation was being carried out by the State AEFI Committee.
The woman was stable, with mild cough after vaccination on January 20. A day later, she developed fever and complained of dizziness and pain in the epigastric region of the abdomen. The woman’s family shifted her to the NRI General Hospital at Mangalagiri on January 21 and the GGH in Guntur the next day. She was admitted to the Neurology Department ICU early on Sunday in a semi-conscious condition. She was disoriented, with incoherent speech and drooling. Doctors put the woman on ventilator, but she died soon after.
Her death triggered a protest with hundreds of ASHA workers staging a sit-in at the GGH demanding that the family of the deceased should be given a job, farm land and ₹50 lakh as compensation.
District Collector I. Samuel Ananda Kumar rushed to the GGH and consoled the family members. He assured them of a job and land and promised to take up the compensation issue with the Chief Minister’s Office.
Later in the day, the AEFI committee, comprising heads of the departments of pathology, virology and other wings, held an emergency meeting at the GGH and discussed the event. A post-mortem examination was being done.
Senior doctors said this could be an AEFI case study that may provide vital information about complications after vaccination.
“This, perhaps, comes under the rare episode of Thrombogenic Ischemic Demyelination caused by vaccination. However, we have to make a detailed investigation. Her family history shows a record of stroke. In fact, her mother had a similar stroke last year. But we are not making any conclusive statements for now,” said a senior doctor.
Vaccinated at Urban PHC
The 45-year-old female healthcare worker in Telangana got vaccinated at an Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) in New Shayampeta, Warangal Urban, at about 12 P.M. of on January 19.
“It has come to the notice of the undersigned that she expired in the early hours of January 23,” said Telangana’s Director of Public Health Dr G. Srinivasa Rao. The District Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) committee is examining the matter. This is second death of a healthcare worker in Telangana who has received the vaccination.
Four-days ago, a 42-year-old male healthcare worker who received the COVID-19 vaccine in Kuntala Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC), Nirmal district, on January 19, was brought dead to a government hospital on Wednesday early morning. Citing preliminary report of Post-mortem Examination on him, senior officials from the State Health department stated that he suffered from Myocardial Infarction.
Senior officials from the State Health department said that viscera, body fluids, a part of various organs, collected from him were sent to Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), and National Institute of Virology (NIV)-Pune, to know the cause of his death. The procedure is followed for any AEFI death.
The District AEFI committee which is examining the death of the female healthcare worker will submit its report to the State AEFI committee, which will in turn hand it over to Central AEFI committee.