KOZHIKODE: The death of a young woman due to Covid in north Kerala has baffled many as she had taken both doses of the vaccine over a month earlier. While her death is the first instance in the state of someone succumbing to the virus after being vaccinated, it has now emerged that she hid the fact that she had been taking steroids for long during vaccination. For such people, the vaccine does not induce an immune response, experts said.
Taking the two jabs may have given the woman and her family a false notion of security, for she travelled in jam-packed buses, attended a house-warming function, and finally caught the virus. The woman was suffering from Lupus Nephritis, a type of kidney disease that is part of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), and was taking a heavy dose of steroids.
“Two reasons led to her death — SLE disease and steroids. SLE is an Auto Immune Disease. Vaccines are immune boosters. But the immunity in such patients will be in a dismantled state, which means vaccination has little effect. She can’t stop taking steroids for the illness either,” said the district medical officer.
After talking to multiple people closely associated with the woman, TNIE understands that she had kept the fact that she was taking steroids a secret. “Even her close friends did not know. I think the family had hushed it up as marriage proposals were doing the rounds,” said a source.
Steroid users must consult doctors before taking vaccine
Dr A S Anoop Kumar, a member of the government’s medical advisory panel on Covid management, said it was almost certain that the SLE disease, coupled with the virus affliction, caused her death. “We cannot absolutely claim zero death among those who have received the double dose vaccine. But data from the world over indicate that such deaths are nearly negligible, say 0.001 percent,” he said. A minimum of one week is needed between taking the final dose of a steroid and taking the fast jab of the vaccine in case of short-term steroid users.