Vaccine Watch: 5 dead in Serum Institute fire; UAE okays Sputnik

PM likely to be vaccinated in March or April, doctor in Shivamogga dies two days after receiving jab and Israel denies vaccine efficacy fears

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 21 January 2021

Five people have died as a result of the fire at the Serum Institute of India (SII)’s plant in Pune January 21, 2021 according to media reports.

SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla confirmed the loss of life in the fire though he did not specify a number.

We have just received some distressing updates; upon further investigation we have learnt that there has unfortunately been some loss of life at the incident. We are deeply saddened and offer our deepest condolences to the family members of the departed.

— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) January 21, 2021

The fire was reported on the fifth floor of the plant, where work related to the BCG vaccine was underway, according to The Hindustan Times.

Poonawalla tweeted earlier in the day to assure that there was no harm to the stocks of the Covishield vaccine that his company was manufacturing.


Doctor in Shivamogga dies two days after getting COVID-19 vaccine

Jayaprakash, a 59-year-old orthopaedic surgeon and owner of JP Hospital in Shivamogga, Karnataka died on the morning of January 20, 2021, two days after he was administered Covishield, the vaccine for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to The New Indian Express. The death was not related to the vaccine, according to the administration.

Jayaprakash died due to myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as heart attack. He is the fourth person to have died from MI after being administered Covishield after similar cases in Ballari in Karnataka, Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh and Nirmal in Andhra Pradesh. Likewise, the government has denied that the other deaths happened due to the vaccine.

Prime Minister likely to be vaccinated by March or April: Media reports

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19 sometime in March or April, media reports said January 21, 2021.

A report in The Hindustan Times quoted a number of government officials as saying that Modi was likely to be vaccinated in the second phase of vaccination in which 270 million people, including those above 50 years of age and those with compromised immunity would be inoculated.

Currently, the first phase of vaccination is going on, in which 30 million health and frontline workers are being vaccinated.

UAE okays Sputnik V for emergency use

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorised the Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V for emergency use, according to news agency Reuters.

Sputnik V is the third COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in the UAE. The country is also inoculating residents with Sinopharm, that has been developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group as well as the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTec SE

Israel health ministry denies vaccine fears as ‘inaccurate’ 

The health ministry in Israel has said that concerns regarding the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines which its own COVID-19 commissioner had expressed were ‘inaccurate and out of context’, the BBC reported.

The commissioner had reportedly suggested that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine might not be as effective as reported.

However, a spokesman for the ministry said the commissioner had said he was yet to see a decrease in the number of severely-ill patients. It added that the full protective impact of the vaccine was expected to be seen soon.  

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