Asserting that the Covid vaccination is purely voluntary, Himachal Pradesh Health and Family Welfare Minister Rajiv Saizal on Tuesday said no prior health assessment of a person is being carried out before vaccination in the state.

Replying to a query of Barsar MLA Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Saizal said there were no guidelines on health assessment prior to vaccination as taking the jab was purely voluntary and a person can refuse to take the vaccine even after registering for it.

Responding to another query of Theog MLA Rakesh Singha on the death of Anganwari helper in Hamirpur district and efficacy of Covishield vaccine, Saizal said the woman identified as Promila died 23 days after receiving Covid jab.

However, there was no conclusive evidence to suggest that the woman died due to side effects of the vaccine and her postmortem was still awaited. “The woman reported symptoms of weakness in legs 3-4 days after she received Covishield vaccine and she was referred to Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College Tanda in Kangra district for further treatment.

She died in India Gandhi Medical College in Shimla 23 days after she fell ill,” he added. Saizal further stated that there was a set protocol of the Centre government in case of adverse event after a person receives vaccine and district and state level committees had been formed to evaluate the death as per the set norms.

Her viscera sample had been sent for forensic examination and the forensic report and postmortem report was still awaited. Without these reports, the government can’t comment on the exact reasons of the death, he said.

Replying to question on the efficacy of the vaccine being administered in the state, the State Health and Family Welfare Minister said lengthy trials for a medicine were conducted as per the guidelines of World Health Organisations.

“As per the reports, the efficacy of Covishield vaccine is around 70 per cent. While the efficacy against new strains and virus mutations can only be ascertained after trials and it is still a topic of research upon which the state government can not comment at this point of time,” he added.