It was on June 25 that the Union Health Ministry announced that pregnant women could start taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Silhouette of a pregnant woman against a dim blue backgroundImage for representation
news Controversy Monday, August 23, 2021 - 20:35

A 31-year-old pregnant woman died in a private hospital in Kottayam, Kerala, days after she took her first dose of vaccination against COVID-19. The death report of Mahima Mathew cites the cause of death as celebral venous thrombosis and vaccine-associated thrombocytopenia (pending autopsy).This condition occurs when a person's blood platelet count is low.

India Today reports that the woman got her first dose of vaccination on August 6 and developed uneasiness and headache five days later, according to her family. She consulted a doctor at the Mar Sleeva Medicity in Palai of Kottayam district on August 13. Two days later she had to be admitted at the hospital when the headache became more severe and she fell unconscious. Mahima was then reportedly put on ventillator support. A day later the hospital reportedly declared her brain dead.

On August 20, she died. Kottayam District Medical Officer (DMO) Dr Jacob Varghese told The Indian Express that it is not clear how the hospital linked Mahima's death to the vaccine shot she'd got. The death, he said, would be audited by an expert team of doctors.

Mahima's husband Renjith R has made a complaint to the state health minister Veena George saying that he was not happy with the treatment his wife had received at the hospital.

It was on June 25 that the Union Health Ministry announced that pregnant women could start taking the COVID-19 vaccine. The decision was taken during the meeting of the 16th National Technical Advisory Group of Immunisation (NTAGI). Guidelines for vaccinating pregnant women were also published. However, it was also advised that pregnant women should be fully informed that the long-term adverse reactions and the safety of the vaccine for the fetus and child were not yet established. It was also decided that pregnant women should be told that they may sometimes develop rare complications associated with vaccines, such as thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (with Covishield).

The Serious Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) panel looked at 31 cases of adverse events in India which took place between January and March. (At least 28 people passed away, while three others recovered). Out of this, three cases including the death of a 68-year-old man were classified as vaccine related. The government has asserted many times the adverse reactions that may occur after vaccination.


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