A day after the death of Sukhdev Kirdat, a 40-year-old driver who lost consciousness 15 minutes after a second dose of Covishield was administered to him, his family members gathered at his native place in Sangli on Wednesday ruing that he had gone against their advice to get himself vaccinated.
With his postmortem report is still awaited, doctors said they cannot link Kirdat’s death to the vaccine before studying the details of the autopsy.
“A month ago, when the first dose was administered to him, he had clicked a picture and a video and sent it on our family WhatsApp group. I had scolded him then and said there was no need for him to get vaccinated. He was the driver of a private doctor and had never been infected with Covid-19. But he told me that every staffer working with the private doctor was getting vaccinated,” his nephew Prithviraj Salunke said.
Kirdat received his second dose at immunisation centre 75 in Bhagya Nagar of Bhiwandi on Tuesday. He fainted in the observation room and was declared dead at Indira Gandhi Memorial hospital. Dr Archana Patil, Director (Family Welfare), said an “adverse event following immunisation expert committee” will scrutinise the case at the district level.
“Once they submit the report, we will study what led to his death. He had a history of convulsions. It is unlikely that he suffered anaphylaxis reaction to the vaccine. But we need to wait for the district committee to submit the report first,” Patil added.
The police have taken the remaining doses in the vial and sent them for testing.
Dr K R Kharat, medical officer in Bhiwandi Nizampur Municipal Corporation, said that Kirdat suffered no adverse effects after the first dose.
Salunke said that like any other day, on Tuesday, his uncle had left home for work around 8 am. At 12.45 pm, Kirdat’s wife Sonali got a call from an official at Indira Gandhi Memorial hospital, informing that her husband had met with an accident. “We were told that he sustained minor injuries,” said Salunke, adding that after they reached the hospital around 2 pm, they saw his body in a room. “We were then told that he was administered a vaccine and minutes later, collapsed.”
Kirdat had been diagnosed with hypertension around three years ago and was on medication. He also had a history of alcoholism. “He did not complain of any health issues while leaving the house in the morning,” Salunkhe said.
This is the 41st such death reported in India. In Maharashtra, this is the first such case.
Kirdat’s family has urged the Bhiwandi city police to conduct a thorough investigation. The police have registered a case of accidental death. “We want them to record statements of the officials who were administering vaccines when my uncle collapsed and also of those who had come to take the shots. There are lots of discrepancies in what we have been told by the hospital officials, my uncle’s employer, his colleagues and the police,” said the nephew.
District officials said the vaccine batches are randomly tested before approval. The same vial was used to immunise other people at the centre.
Kirdat’s postmortem was conducted by a panel of 13 doctors at JJ hospital, following which, the body was handed over to the family on Wednesday. Samples from his body have been preserved for further testing. While Dr R Mankeshwar, dean of JJ hospital, said the findings of the autopsy are confidential, family members said JJ hospital doctors have informed them that Kirdat succumbed to a heart attack.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Yogesh Chavan said, “We are in the process of recording statements of the supervising doctor, nurses and the family members of the deceased. We have also called his previous employer.”
Kirdat’s family is based at Manorama Nagar in Thane. He survived by a 13-year-old son and a wife.
454 cases of adverse events till date
Mumbai has till now recorded 454 cases of people suffering adverse events following immunisations. Among them, 21 have required hospitalisation. BMC officials said that while all adverse effects have been minor, the 21 people who had been hospitalised suffered moderate events that required observation but no serious medical intervention. On Wednesday, five minor adverse events were recorded. In all cases, people complained of giddiness. After 30-minute observation, they were allowed to go home.