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Side effects of Covishield vaccine: No cause for worry says medical professional

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BY SURESH PERERA

Many people who were administered the Indian Covishield Covid-19 vaccine have developed severe side effects, but a senior medical professional assured that there’s nothing to worry as “it shows that with a very high immune response, the jab is working”.

A health worker in Colombo had even fainted not because there was something amiss with the vaccine, but due to what was perceived as Trypanophobia (extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles), he said.

“In my career, I have come across not only patients, but even health workers who have a morbid fear of injections and surgical procedures so much so they tremble at the thought of undergoing the treatment”, he noted.

Side effects and allergic reactions are not confined to the Covishield jab as it’s a common phenomenon even when it comes to penicillin and certain other antibiotics, the medical professional outlined.

He said that the most common side effects amongst people who had received the Covishield vaccine are fever, body aches and pains, cramps and vomiting.

When told about some health workers who had started to tremble after receiving the jab at a hospital in the south, he assured there was no reason to panic as the reaction to the vaccine will gradually taper off as the body gets hold of it.

“These side effects are not fatal at all”, he stressed, adding that older people are more tolerant of the Covid vaccine.

In a scenario where three to four positive cases are found in every 100 persons screened in Colombo, there could be asymptomatic patients or those with antibodies in their system also receiving the jab, the official opined.

With an extensive Covild inoculation drive, the country will be able to move towards herd immunity, which means that when most of the population is immune to an infectious disease, it provides indirect protection to those who are not immune to the disease, he continued.

It’s akin to vaccinating five people and providing protection to the three others sharing a room with them, he noted.

A consultant surgeon who is 60 years old said that he and his family were administered the Covishield vaccine but no side effects were experienced.

He said that there had been instances where certain antibiotic drugs had led to allergic reactions in patients with some fatalities reported.

“It doesn’t play out the same way in most cases and we should weigh the risk versus benefits. Just as much as antibiotics have killed some people, how many millions of lives have the drugs been able to save?”, he asked.

The risk is minimal with medicinal drugs but the advantages are more in terms of treating the sick and saving lives, he emphasized.

He said inoculating the population against the raging virus is the only way out for Sri Lanka as if the pandemic gets out of hand with transmission levels spiraling, the fallout will be devastating not only socially but economically as well.

So far the Covishield jab has proven its worth and the time is opportune to inoculate more and more people to ensure long-term immunity from the deadly contagion, he added.

“This vaccine will help us prevent the further spread of Covid-19 and thereby overcome the threat by ensuring long-term protection from the virus”, he said.

India donated 500,000 doses of the Covishield jab to Sri Lanka, which were administered to front-line health workers and armed services personnel under the initial phase.

Concerns have been raised worldwide over reports that some people have possible allergic reactions to Covid-19 vaccines. A team of experts who examined the cases reassured that the vaccines can be given safely, even to people with food or medication allergies.

Meanwhile, Serum Institute of India, the manufacturer of Covishield, warned that people severely allergic to any ingredient of Covid-19 vaccine are advised not to take it.

One should not get the Covishield vaccine if there was a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of the jab, the Institute said in a factsheet for the vaccine recipient on the website to “help the recipient understand the risks and benefits of the Covishield vaccine”.

The ingredients of Covishield vaccine are “L-Histidine, L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, Magnesium chloride hexahydrate, Polysorbate 80, Ethanol, Sucrose, Sodium chloride, Disodium edetate dihydrate (EDTA), Water for injection”, the Pune-based Serum Institute said.

Media reports quoted the Indian Health Ministry confirming 447 adverse reactions to Covid-19 vaccines as 224,301 people received the first dose of vaccines in the country as of January 17, 2020.

“Of the 447 Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFIs), three had to be hospitalized, while two of them have now been discharged after 24 hours, one continues to be under observation,” said Manohar Agnani, joint secretary at the Health Ministry.



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Full implementation of 13A: NFF vows to torpedo Ranil’s move, asks Dinesh, Mahinda to disclose their stance

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

The National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent member of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya (NJS), has declared that it would oppose President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s bid to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The patriotic people were ready to defeat such plans, even at the expense of their lives, the party has vowed.

The breakaway JVP faction consists of six MPs, including former minister Wimal Weerawansa. The NJS is contesting the Local Government polls, scheduled for March 09, under the ‘Helicopter’ symbol.

NFF spokesperson, MP Jayantha Samaraweera, on Monday (30), told the media that his party was ready to lead a campaign against the UNP leader’s move to do away with constitutional safeguards meant to ensure Sri Lanka’s unitary status. The Lawmaker addressed the media at the NFF main office, at Pitakotte.

Having declared his intention to fully implement the controversial constitutional amendment at the Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15, President Wickremesinghe reiterated his commitment to the Eelam project during the party leaders’ meeting at the Presidential Secretariat, the former State Minister said.

Lawmaker Samaraweera asked Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, and twice President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who had flanked President Wickremesinghe, at the party leaders’ meeting, to disclose their stand on 13th Amendment.

The Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya, consisting of NFF, Democratic Left Front, Communist Party, Lanka Samasamaja Pakshaya, Pivuthuru Hela Urumaya, Vijayadharani Jathika Sabhawa, Yuthukama, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Nidahasa Janatha Sabhawa, Jana Jaya Peramuna, Sri Lanka Mahajana Pakshaya and Nidahas Janatha Peramuna, has yet to disclose its position on this issue.

MP Samaraweera attacked the President, close on the heels of NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, who is also the Chairman of the Uththara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), questioning the legitimacy of the move. Lawmaker Weerawansa addressed this issue at a meeting held at the BMICH, on January 26, to discuss ways and means to thwart the move to privatize the CEB.

The ULS consisting of seven political parties, and groups, is aligned with the NJS.

Referring to the circumstances UNP leader Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament, through the National List, nearly a year after the last General Election, former Minister Weerawansa emphasized the President didn’t have a mandate to fully implement the 13th Amendment. How could the UNP leader abolish Sri Lanka’s unitary status, having received an opportunity to complete Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s remainder of five-year term, won at the Nov. 2019 Presidential Election.

The MP challenged their erstwhile comrades, in the JVP, to state their position on the 13th Amendment. Alleging that the JVP had been conveniently silent on the issue at hand, MP Samaraweera asked whether the current leadership would take up Wickremesinghe’s challenge.

In addition to Weerawansa and Samaraweera, Yuthukama leader Gevindu Cumaratunga, MP, has declared opposition to the President’s move, at the party leaders’ meeting.

Of the SLPP parliamentary group, retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera is the only MP to publicly oppose Wickremesinghe’s proposal.

Political sources said that the NJS, as a group contesting the forthcoming LG polls, was yet to deliberate this issue and take a stand. They said that consensus was required without further delay as the President’s proposal would be a major issue at the forthcoming election.

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PHU, too, opposes land, police powers to PCs

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A lawyers’ group, aligned with Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), yesterday (31) said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t unilaterally decide on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Attorneys-at-Law Pasan Gunasekera and Bhupathi Kahathuduwa, in a statement issued, explained why police and land powers, in terms of the controversial amendment, shouldn’t be granted to Provincial Councils. Abolition of current constitutional safeguard would undermine Sri Lanka’s unitary status thereby paved the way for a new conflict.

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Bangladesh FM to deliver LK memorial lecture

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Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, will deliver the Lakshman Kadirgamar memorial lecture at Block 3, Jasmine Hall, BMICH, on February 03, at 6 pm.

The LTTE assassinated the then Foreign Minister, Kadirgamar, on Aug. 12, 2005.

FM Momen will deliver the annual lecture on the invitation of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.

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