INDIA – India’s vaccination campaign is being overshadowed by a prominent decrease in people’s enthusiasm to take the second shot. Almost 50% of those who arrived for their first appointment have missed their second, raising questions and concerns about what could possibly be putting the brakes on the large-scale effort. One possible reason for the slowdown could be the sudden deaths of some high-profile actors in the Indian movie industry striking fear into fans across the country.

Puneeth Rajkumar – First dose on April 7th: Died on October 29th.

Puneeth Rajkumar, a leading star in the Indian movie industry, suddenly died yesterday at just 46-years-old after suffering a massive heart attack. The ‘extremely fit’ actor complained of chest pain during a gym workout around 11 am and was seen by a doctor who diagnosed him with an acute heart attack. He was immediately taken to Vikram Hospital in Bengaluru, the capital of southern Karnataka state, where he arrived ‘unresponsive’ and was later pronounced dead at 2:30 pm.

The Vikram Hospital statement read:

“In spite of prolonged advanced and aggressive measures, the patient continued to be non-responsive and asystolic. The panel of medical experts extended all efforts to save him. He was declared dead at 2.30pm (local).”

He is survived by his wife Ashwini Revanth, who he married in 1999, and their two teenage daughters, Drithi and Vandhitha. 

Raj Kaushal – Second dose on April 27th: Died on June 30th.

Earlier this year, filmmaker Raj Kaushal, who is the husband of actress Mandira Bedi, died after suffering a massive heart attack on Wednesday morning June 30th, just 2 months after he had received his second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Raj produced many blockbuster films such as Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi (1999), Shaadi Ka Laddoo (2004), My Brother… Nikhil (2005) among others.

Raj is survived by his wife and actress Mandira Bedi, and two children.

Vivek – First dose on April 15th: Died on April 17th.

Vivek, a Tamil movie actor, comedian and television personality, immediately fell ill after his shot on April 15th, which he received during a televised stunt to promote COVID-19 vaccine acceptance. The 59-year-old suffered a severe heart attack just a day later and died shortly thereafter. His death came less than 48 hours after the injection:

Mansoor Ali Khan, who plays a supporting role in Tamil movies, linked Vivek’s death to the COVID-19 vaccine. He alleged that the local administration and governments together are ‘killing’ people:

Sidharth Shukla – Vaccination date unknown: Died on September 2nd.

Sidharth Shukla, an actor, model and presenter, died in the early morning on September 2nd at the age of just 40 due to a massive heart attack. Sidharth, best known for his role in the TV show Balika Vadhu, was taken to Mumbai’s Cooper Hospital after he had suffered a heart attack. His sudden death left the TV fraternity “shocked and sad”.

Just days before his passing, he paid tribute to “superheroes in white capes, the nursing staff and their countless sacrifices:”

“To all the frontline warriors, a thank you from the heart! You risk your lives, work for countless hours, and comfort patients who couldn’t be with their families. You truly are the bravest! Being on the frontline surely isn’t easy, but we really appreciate your efforts.”

Although it is not certain whether he received the vaccine, based on his social media activity he was in favor of vaccination and COVID-19 measures:

Tweet:

He send out this tweet less than two months before his sudden death:

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