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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC

Covaxin Poses Risks for Adolescent Girls

Syllabus: Health [GS Paper-2]

Context

Covaxin, a COVID-19 vaccine, has been a crucial tool in the fight against the pandemic. However, a recent study has raised concerns about its safety among adolescent girls. This article will explore the risks associated with Covaxin for adolescent girls and the implications for public health.

The Study: Findings and Implications

  • Recently, in the journal of an important medical organisation, a research was published that adolescent girls who took Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, had a higher chance for certain health issues. The research, conducted by Banaras Hindu University, followed adolescent girls in particular after they were vaccinated, which resulted in increased incidence of heavy menstrual bleeding, menstrual irregularity and severe abdominal pain among the examined group.
  • The Covaxin’s role as one of India’s primary COVID-19 vaccines that is also given to adolescents during their national vaccination drive cannot be overemphasised as with such vaccination, herd immunity is achieved and transmission of the virus ceases. Yet, there are worries of the occurrence of AEFIs, most especially in adolescent girls, along with those having comorbidity incidents.
  • The study found that almost one-third of participants suffered from serious adverse events (AESI), such as viral upper respiratory tract infection, newly onset skin and subcutaneous disorders, general disorder and nervous system disorder. Specifically, 4. 6% complained about their menstrual problems by the female members.
  • While the study unveiled such findings, Covaxin showed significantly lower rate of AEFI in adolescents than mRNA vaccines with overall short term advantageous safety profile. Bharat Biotech used a countering argument by insisting on all around data collection so that the source of bias can be ruled out and the study comes to a correct conclusion. They underlined the necessity of assessing the infection rates and other complications which are faced by the vaccinated people as compared to the unvaccinated or the people who received the different vaccines.

Implications for Public Health Policy

Such results might be of great importance for designing the new public health policy regarding teenages, especially in the area of the adolescent vaccination strategy. This reminds the point that the vaccination administration must be cautious and the surveillance should be prolonged and thorough to weak groups.

Health Risks Associated with Covaxin

The study found that Covaxin was associated with several health risks for adolescent girls, including:

  • Heavy Menstrual Bleeding: In contrast, adolescent girls who received Covaxin proved more susceptible to heavy menstrual bleeding, which can subsequently lead to a series of other problems, like anaemia, fatigue, and other health problems.
  • Menstrual Irregularity: Besides these, the vaccine revealed some problems with menstrual disorder, which can result in infertility, PCOS, or any other reproductive health illness.
  • Severe Abdominal Pain: Adolescent females who were vaccinated with covaxin comprised the higher proportion of cases who had severe abdominal pain that in other situations can present as a symptom of medical issues like endometriosis or ovarian cysts.

Government Response

As soon as the publication of the study, the government instructed the makers of Covaxin to issue a monitoring health document to be given to the healthcare providers to save any unforeseen negative health side effects. The administration has additionally talked about the intention to be undertaking more studies that will touch on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for adolescent girls.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the study’s findings highlight the need for further research into the safety and efficacy of Covaxin for adolescent girls. The government’s response to the study’s findings is a positive step towards ensuring the health and well-being of adolescent girls. However, more needs to be done to address the health risks associated with Covaxin and to ensure that adolescent girls receive safe and effective vaccines.

Source: The Hindu

UPSC Mains Practice Question

Q. Evaluate the implications of recent studies highlighting health risks for adolescent girls receiving the Covaxin vaccine. Discuss the ethical and public health considerations in balancing vaccine safety and the need for widespread immunization.

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