The three deaths include that of a policeman who died at his Borivali residence on Thursday, two days after getting vaccinated in Seven Hills hospital. While a 65-year-old woman from Bandra was found dead a day after getting vaccinated in Lilavati hospital on March 5, a Goregaon resident, also 65, died within hours of vaccination on March 8 at Millat nursing home, Jogeshwari.
Health experts caution that a person dying shortly after being inoculated does not mean the vaccine had led to the death.
Dr Sheela Jagtap, BMC immunisation officer, said that none of the deaths are being associated with vaccination. “They could be coincidental. Our AEFI committee is yet to sit to study the cases,” she added.
In two of the three deaths, postmortem examinations performed at JJ hospital have found changes in the heart although final autopsy reports are awaited. “Viscera samples have been collected in both cases. It usually takes 90 days for the results to come,” said Dr T P Lahane, Director of Directorate of Medical Education and Research.
Lahane added that JJ hospital has also conducted the autopsy of a Thane resident, who died within minutes after vaccination on March 2. Forensic experts found changes in his heart as well, although they reserved opinion on the cause of death and are awaiting chemical analysis and histopathology report.
Mumbai has vaccinated 4.76 lakh people so far and 0.1 per cent – at least 507 – have suffered minor or major adverse events. The city has vaccinated half of this pool in the last one week. Of the 2.35 lakh people who got immunised, 53 suffered AEFI.
Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas said that the percentage of adverse events are very low. “Even those who suffer any adverse reactions have mild ones. We have instructed districts to investigate all deaths that occur a few days after vaccination.”
On Thursday, Assistant Commissioner of Police in Sakinaka division, Ramesh Nangare (55), had finished 24-hour duty and collapsed after reaching home. He is suspected to have suffered a heart attack. He received a second dose of vaccine on Tuesday at Seven Hills hospital. A police officer said that Nangare completed his day duty and stayed back for night duty on Wednesday. He was experiencing uneasiness at night, said his subordinate. He returned to his Gorai home in Borivali around 5 am. Around 11 am, he suffered a heart attack and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
Nangare was posted as senior inspector in Dharavi last February. “Implementation of lockdown norms in a slum like Dharavi seemed impossible, but he would be on the ground to ensure that people stayed indoors. He played an important role in sending 1.75 lakh migrants in Dharavi back to their hometowns in May and June, last year,” said Kiran Dighavkar, BMC Assistant Commissioner in Dharavi.
Nangare had contracted Covid-19 infection in July-August, last year. He was due to retire in 2024. Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said Nangare was fit before the second dose. “Our team will scrutinize whether this is an AEFI case, since he went to work and was fine during the observation period.”
Dr Balkrishna Adsul, in charge of Seven Hills hospital, said that usually, adverse events are noted within 48 hours of the first dose of vaccine being administered. “He did not suffer any reaction after the first dose. This was his second dose and two days have passed since then. We are not sure if the vaccine played any role in his demise. Exertion and stress could trigger heart attack.”
The 65-year-old woman in Bandra West had received her first dose at Lilavati hospital last week. On March 6, when she did not answer her door bell, a neighbour used a spare key to open the door. She was found lying near her bed and was declared brought dead in the hospital. Officials said the woman, who lived alone, had no comorbidities. Two years ago, she had undergone a surgery for a brain cyst.
Dr V Ravishankar, chief operating officer of Lilavati hospital, said they had administered her with Covishield. “No person has faced adverse reactions, resulting in fainting or collapsing in the 30-minute observation period post vaccination in our hospital. We are not sure what exactly happened after she went home,” he added. Her body was sent to JJ hospital for postmortem.
The 69-year-old Goregaon resident had collapsed minutes after being vaccinated on March 8 at Millat nursing home. He was rushed to the ICU. He had received vaccination around 3.30 pm and by 5 pm, he passed away. The man suffered from diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease. Although cardiac patients are not advised against vaccination, those on blood thinners are asked to stop blood thinners for two days before getting vaccinated.