… Death not related to vaccination say NI-TAG experts and family members 

Younten Tshedup

Forty-hours after receiving the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, a 59-year-old man from Lhamoidzingkha, Dagana, died while asleep at home on the night of July 23.

The deceased had received the Moderna vaccine as his second dose on July 21. His death, according to the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NI-TAG), was not vaccine-induced or related to vaccination.

NI-TAG member, Dr GP Dhakal, said that the deceased had hypertension and was on medication, and he was also obese. “Following the vaccination, he had not reported any side effects or adverse events. If there were some issues with the vaccine, reactions should have happened immediately or at least within 12 hours.”

Dr Dhakal said that the NI-TAG upon investigation in coordination with the gewog officials and medical officer in Lhamoizingkha, concluded the death was due to heart attack.

It was learnt that the deceased after receiving his second dose of vaccine was actively involved in his regular chores. He attended a meeting with the villagers and tshogpa regarding a road issue. Later that day, he also attended a funeral ceremony in the village.

Speaking to Kuensel, family members of the deceased said that he had consumed some oily food and a few drinks of alcohol at the funeral. “He wasn’t known for drinking even otherwise,” said one of the family members.”

After he reached his home, the deceased had dinner with his wife and went to bed. Around midnight, the wife who woke up after she felt a chill, called for her husband asking for a blanket. There was no response from her husband.

The wife then called the gewog tshogpa and neighbours for help. An ambulance from Lhamoizingkha hospital picked him and arrived at the hospital at around 1am. The man was pronounced dead on arrival by the doctor.

“We are all shocked with his untimely demise but we do not think it is because of the vaccine,” said a family member who requested anonymity. “During his first vaccine dose, he did complain of minor side effects like headache and fever. But this time, besides the pain at the injection site, he did not complain of any other side effects.”

Dr Dhakal said that even without the vaccine, about two people died in Bhutan every day. The baseline death rate of Bhutan has not changed with the introduction of Covid-19 vaccination programme, he said.

He added that so far, no major side effects were reported during the second mass vaccination campaign. In the past six days, 431,754 people received their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine. A total of  3,028 people reported side effects that included headache, fever, fatigue, and tenderness at the site of injection.

Edited by Tshering Palden