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Covishield row: Gujarat Congress demands compensation, BJP claims heart attacks not linked to vaccine

Doctors associated with the Gujarat BJP, however, said a study by an expert panel in the state had established that there was no direct link between COVID-19 vaccines and blood clotting which can lead to heart attacks.
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 19:21 IST
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 19:21 IST

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Ahmedabad: The opposition Congress on Wednesday alleged that the BJP government at the centre did not follow the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO), and demanded that the relatives of those who died due to heart attack or similar reasons after taking the Covishield vaccine against coronavirus should be paid compensation.

Doctors associated with the Gujarat BJP, however, said a study by an expert panel in the state had established that there was no direct link between COVID-19 vaccines and blood clotting which can lead to heart attacks.

British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca recently admitted in a UK court that its vaccine, sold as Covishield in India, can cause TTS, a rare side effect related to blood clotting. In India, AstraZeneca partnered with Serum Institute of India (SII) to produce the vaccine.

Gujarat Congress president and Rajya Sabha member Shaktisinh Gohil sought to know why data was not collected despite WHO's advisory.

'Since the world did not have time to analyse the side-effects of vaccines at that time, WHO had said countries should keep a record of side-effects. Other countries followed this advisory and kept records,' he said.

'But, in our country, no such data was collected,' Gohil claimed.

The senior Congress leader alleged that many young and healthy people suddenly died due to heart attack or brain stroke in Gujarat and elsewhere.

'So why does the BJP government not follow WHO's guidelines? Why no extra care about the side-effects of vaccines was taken and why no data was collected? Our government did not care about people's health,' he said.

The Congress leader also said that the Central Research Institute (CRI), a government-run institute having expertise in developing and producing vaccines, has a much higher vaccine production capacity than private firms, and asked why it was not chosen over the latter.

'This is criminal negligence. Rahul Gandhi had asked why the price of vaccines was high. So how much these companies donated to the BJP? These companies should disclose it and give it back. The government should use that money to give compensation to the kin of those who died due to the vaccine,' Gohil added.

Dr Dharmendra Gajjar, convener of the Gujarat BJP's Doctors Cell, refuted Gohil's claims.

'Congress is spreading myths. ICMR had published a report in November 2023 and declared that vaccines do not lead to clotting. AstraZeneca has also said the chances of clotting are 0.004 per cent, which is very low. Every vaccine has its own side effects. But, we also keep in mind the risk vs benefit ratio,' he said.

An expert panel constituted by the Gujarat government examined 3,000 individuals and came to the conclusion that clotting was caused mainly due to smoking, diabetes, lifestyle or even due to contraceptive pills, Dr Gajjar said, adding that even herpes vaccines can cause complications, but doctors recommend it because of its benefits in fighting the disease.

It was not right to 'politicise' the issue after more than three years, he added.

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Published 01 May 2024, 19:21 IST

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