People who are immuno- compromised or are on medicines that affect the immune system are advised not to take the anti-Covid vaccine Covaxin, a detailed factsheet released by its manufacturer Vharat Biotech said.
Earlier, the government had said patients on immuno-suppressants or suffering from Immune deficiency could take the vaccine though the response was expected to be less effective in such individuals. Usually, cancer patients on chemotherapy, HIV-positive people and those on steroids are immune-suppressed. While the risk of infection is higher in such patients, doctors also say efficiency of vaccines is often very low in such groups.
Bharat Biotech has advised people with bleeding disorders or who are on blood thinners to avoid the shot. Also, those who are acutely ill, have fever or have any history of allergy, besides pregnant or lactating mothers were also advised against taking the jab. The factsheet suggested that if any recipient developed Covid-19 symptoms, it should be recorded as an adverse event with RT- PCR test results as proof.
Doctors said the factsheet could be in the light of adverse events, most of them mild, reported from across the country.
Advice intended to be precautionary: Biotech
Experts have said that though a vaccinated person can catch Covid-19, the infection is likely to be mild. The company said the advice was intended to be precautionary.
“There is a remote chance that the Bharat Biotech Covid-19 vaccine (Covaxin) could cause a severe allergic reaction… may very rarely occur,” the company said. It added that signs of severe allergic reaction could include difficulty in breathing, swelling of face and throat, fast heart beat, rashes all over the body, dizziness and weakness.
“Tell the vaccinator/officer about all your medical conditions,including: Are you on regular medication for any illness? If yes, for how long and for which condition,” the factsheet said.
A health ministry advisory to states before the rollout of the vaccination programme on January 16 had listed history of allergy, pregnancy and lactation as contraindications. As provisional measures, it had suggested delaying vaccination by 4-8 weeks after recovery among acutely unwell or hospitalised patients along with those infected with Covid-19 and patients who had been treated with convalescent plasma.
The clinical efficacy of Covaxin is yet to be established and it is still being studied in Phase 3 trials. “Hence, it was important to appreciate that receiving the vaccine does not mean that other precautions related to Covid-19 need not be followed,” the factsheet said.
The government has procured 55 lakh doses of Covaxin, which have been distributed among 12 states and UTs. ( TOI )