In distressing news, a 46-year-old ward boy died after receiving his first shot of COVID-19 vaccination. The son of the ward boy claimed the COVID-19 vaccine to be the reason of his father’s death. However, the health ministry claims that the reports of the man dying because of the COVID-19 vaccine are fake.  

Ward boy death controversy: The how, when, and what:

Mahipal Singh who worked as a ward boy in the district hospital in Moradabad in UP reportedly received the shot of the COVID-19 vaccine on January 16. The next day Mahipal complained of breathlessness and chest pain during the day and was rushed to the hospital. Mahipal could not be saved by the hospital and was declared dead around 6.PM according to the Chief Medical Officer, MC Garg.  

After Mahipal’s death, his son Vishal spoke to reporters and claimed that his father died due to the side effects of the vaccine he was administered with. Vishal said after his father got vaccinated, he took Mahipal home. Following the visit to the hospital, his father felt unwell and short of breath. 

Talking to the news reporters, Vishal said “I would say that whatever happened is because of the vaccine and I would like to hold responsible the government which is getting people vaccinated… After getting the vaccine dose, he came out around 1.30 pm. I brought him home, and he was having breathlessness. He had minor Pneumonia along with a normal cough and cold before the vaccine, but after getting the shot his condition deteriorated.” 

The controversy around the death of the 46-year-old ward boy in Moradabad thickened when the Health Ministry claimed that the accusation of the ward boy’s son claiming that his father died after getting vaccinated are fake.  

The CMO on January 16 claimed that the death of Mahipal “doesn’t appear to be a reaction” to the vaccine. The CMO also claimed that Mahipal had also done night duty without facing any problems.  

On Sunday, January 17 the Uttar Pradesh State government released an autopsy report which confirmed that Mahipal died of cardiogenic and septicaemic shock due to cardiopulmonary disease. 

The doctors involved in Mahipal’s autopsy found that his heart weighed 500 gm against the comparable normal range of 200 gm. The chambers of Mahipal’s heart were found with blood clots and the aorta too had the same blood clots. Additionally, the autopsy report says that Mahipal’s lungs had pus pockets in them.  

The CMO’s report stated that Mahipal’s heart, blood and lungs are secured for further medical investigation. “On Sunday afternoon he complained of chest pain and congestion and breathlessness. By the time he was rushed to the district hospital he died. The COVID-19 vaccine was given to him on Saturday afternoon. It does not appear that this is because of the reaction of the vaccine as he came on night duty on Saturday and he was perfectly fine,” said CMO Garg. 

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Centre in a briefing said that 447 people were reported showing adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) after the first day of the immunization drive in India. According to the Additional Secretary of the Union Health Ministry Manohar Agnani, out of the 447 AEFIs, only 3 required hospitalisations.  

So far, a total of 2,243,301 health care personnel have been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Although it remains unclear whether Mahipal’s death was another AEFI or it had no relation to him being vaccinated, it can put a dent in the confidence people have over the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine.  

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