Centre endorses Covid-19 vaccine after-effects, but rebuts RTI reply

The Centre on Tuesday re-affirmed the after-effects of different Covid-19 vaccines, but refuted a report based on RTI plea pertaining to the potential ramifications of these jabs as “ill-informed” and providing “erroneous” information.

The report, carried by IANS on Monday, referred to the RTI reply sent to Pune businessman Prafful Sarda from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

An official statement on Tuesday said: “As is the case with all other vaccines, those who get vaccinated with different Covid-19 vaccines may experience mild symptoms like injection site tenderness, pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia, malaise, pyrexia, chills, arthralgia etc. Rarely, few individuals may experience severe adverse events depending upon certain pre-disposing conditions.”

The Centre pointed out that as per the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s policy of proactive disclosure aligned with global scientific evidence in public domain, “ICMR provided responses to questions” related to advantages and disadvantages of Covid-19 vaccines.

It added that the ICMR response (to Sarda) simply provided links of reputed website of the Ministry, the World Health Organisation, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), where detailed information on various Covid-19 vaccines is available.

Welcoming the government’s stance, Sarda said that he had sent the RTI query to the Union Health Ministry, which, in turn, passed it to various departments like ICMR-CDSCO, etc for their responses.

“To my queries on the after-effects of all these jabs, the concerned PIOs – ICMR’S PIO Dr. Leyanna Susan George and CDSCO’s PIO Sushanta Sarkar – have officially provided the information of all these vaccines comprising their FAQs,” he pointed out.

Sarda said that the government has also not denied the after-effects of all the Indian vaccines, as mentioned very clearly through the FAQs it provided, which is “laudable and in public interest”.

The government added that global research studies show that Covid-19 vaccines helped reduce severity of disease by preventing hospitalisation and deaths due to the disease, “and benefits of the vaccines overwhelmingly outweigh any adverse effects”.

Plus, India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has periodically reviewed the benefits and side-effects of Covid-19 vaccines used in India and has endorsed the above findings.

The IANS report on the vaccines’ side-effects published on Monday, struck a chord among all people who have been jabbed and evoked massive responses from different quarters, including on social media.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at q.najmi@ians.in)

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