AEFI – an important acronym you must know now!

AEFI is short for Adverse Event Following Immunization.  This is an unexpected medical occurrence post vaccine inoculation.

Since the vaccination drive began on Saturday (Jan.16) across the country 447 AEFI have been reported so far. The Union Health Ministry shared this data via a press release. AEFI may or may not be related to the vaccine or vaccination process. Sources said that AEFI are mostly  minor instances such as fever, headache and nausea.

However only three needed hospitalization.  “Of these, one has been discharged from Northern Railway Hospital Delhi within 24 hours; one has been discharged from AIIMS [All India Institute of Medical Sciences] Delhi; and one is under observation in AIIMS Rishikesh and is being monitored,” the government said in a statement.

“Protocols are in place for reporting, immediate case management at vaccination session site, transportation and hospitalization and further care of such cases,” the Union Health Minister reportedly said. “Protocols are also in place for systematic investigation and causality assessment of serious AEFIs.”

While the government has ensured that our vaccines are safe, taken several measures to show the value of Indian-made drugs, how the public will react to AEFI , if these incidents continue to occur, is yet to be seen. The vaccination for the common citizens are yet to commence. Right now, vaccines are administered to 30 million frontline workers and doctors in the country. After that, India has in plans to vaccinate 300 million people within the first 6 to 8 months of 2020 with 2 doses.

Post the front line workers, citizens aged 50 and above, and people with illness that makes them an easy target to novel coronavirus will get it.

Recently, American MNC Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine made headlines. With a single-shot vaccine, the ambition to inoculate the country could be achieved in a shorter duration. However this vaccine’s efficiency and approval is yet to be seen as a game changer in the world.