A woman in Andhra Pradesh and another in Telangana died on Sunday, days after both of them had taken the Covid-19 vaccination a few days ago, officials said.
A 42-year-old woman, working as an accredited social health activist (Asha) worker in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district, died of brain stem stroke on Sunday four days after she received Covid-19 vaccination, officials said.
Authorities at Guntur General Hospital (GGH) said Bokka Vijaya Lakshmi of Penumaka village, who was admitted to hospital with symptoms of severe headache, giddiness, seizures and vomiting on Friday evening, succumbed in the early hours of Sunday.
According to Guntur district immunisation officer Dr Chukka Ratna Manmohan, Vijayalakshmi took the vaccine along with 10 others on January 20. “She was absolutely fine on the day of vaccination and even the next day. According to her family members, she developed mild symptoms on the midnight of January 21, when her condition turned serious the following day, she was brought to Guntur General Hospital,” he said.
GGH Guntur Superintendent Dr G Prabhavati said the hospital authorities had carried out all radiographic and laboratory investigations immediately after she was brought to the hospital. “She suffered a brain stroke and was treated in the stroke unit of the neurology department,” she said.
Dr Manmohan said investigations revealed that Vijayalakshmi had developed a blood clot in the brain that led to the brain stem stroke. “We do not know exactly whether she already had the blood clot in her brain before vaccination or whether it was induced by vaccination. We are hoping to find some reason after conducting the autopsy,” he said.
The immunisation officer, however, said Vijayalakshmi was absolutely healthy and had no history of any comorbidities at all. “She was one of the very active Asha workers in the district, having attended thousands of Covid-19 patients at Tadepalli primary health centre. We are surprised how she got the brain stroke,” he said.
He said there was no way it could be established that it was vaccine-induced death. “First of all, Covid-19 itself is one-year old in the country. And the vaccination for Covid-19 is still in its nascent stage. We have not come across any such incidents of brain stroke due to vaccination in any part of the country so far. It is a rare case witnessed, maybe one in one lakh people who get vaccinated,” Dr Manmohan said.
District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO) Dr Jonnalagadda Yasmin, in a statement, said out of 11 people including a medical officer who got vaccinated at Tadepalli PHC on January 20, only Vijayalakshmi and another auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) Gottimukkala Lakshmi (38) showed symptoms of giddiness and seizures in the next two days.
“They were shifted to GGH by the AEFI (After Effects Following Immunisation) committee. While Vijayalakshmi’s condition turned critical due to brain stroke, the other woman is stable and recovering,” she said.
Vijayalakshmi’s husband Sambasiva Rao, a village revenue assistant (VRA) at Penumaka, told reporters that she had no other health complications and had fallen victim to the Coronavirus vaccine. “She developed symptoms only after receiving the vaccination,” he said.
Rao, along with other family members, hundreds of activists of CPI (M), staged dharna at the Guntur Government Hospital, demanding that the government pay compensation of ₹50 lakh to the family of Vijayalakshmi, besides a government job to one of her two sons and a house site.
Guntur district collector I Samuel Anand Kumar, who came to the hospital and consoled the family members of the victim. “He assured us to take up our issue with the government and ensure justice for the family,” Rao said.
Also on Sunday, a 45-year-old Anganwadi worker in Telangana’s Warangal (urban) district on Sunday morning, five days after she got the vaccination shot for Covid-19.
The deceased was identified as Vanitha, a widow, who has been living along with her 13-year-old daughter in Shayampet town.
State health director G Srinivasa Rao said the woman was vaccinated at about noon on January 19 at Urban primary health centre, New Shayampet and she expired in the early hours of Sunday.
“The district AEFI committee is examining the matter and will submit its report to the state AEFI committee. The state AEFI committee will in turn furnish its report to the central AEFI committee for taking a view,” Rao said.
According to Naveen, a local resident, quoting her relatives said she had no other health complications but had been complaining about burning sensation in the chest since the next day of taking the vaccine.
“She brought it to the notice of the higher authorities about her problem, but they told her that it was quite common in the people who take vaccines. She suffered cardiac arrest this morning,” Naveen said, adding that her relatives alleged that she died of reaction due to vaccination.