2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine prevent death by 97.5%: ICMR chief

By Special Correspondent
A COVID-19 vaccination camp being held in Chennai (Source: The Hindu)

A COVID-19 vaccine tracker that would provide a week by week update of vaccine doses administered, mortality status and breakthrough infections etc was being developed and it would be available on the Union Health Ministry’s website in a few days time, according to Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr. Balram Bhargava.

At a press conference of the Ministry on Thursday, he advocated low-key celebrations of festivals. Crowding and festival related travel should not be encouraged. “Responsible travel rather than revenge travel should be practised,’’ he said.

On the need to get vaccinated even after getting infected, Dr. Bhargava said recommendations were in place specifying that a person should take the vaccination three months after the infection.

“Since these are not illness preventing vaccinations, there is a possibility that infections will occur even after vaccination. However, the severity is reduced. Data collected has shown that vaccine effectiveness in preventing mortality after a single dose is 96.6% while it is 97.5% after the second dose. We encourage everyone to take the vaccine,” he stated.

Dr. V.K. Paul, (member) Health, Niti Aayog, said it was clear that two doses gave a good degree of protection. India had so far given single dose to 58% (above 18 years) population. “This has to be pushed up to 100%. No one should be left behind.’’

Vaccination of children

On vaccination of children, he stated that teachers and parents have to be vaccinated, but vaccinating children to open schools was not required. “It can’t be used as a condition. However it’s vital not to encourage crowding, ensure staggered classes etc.”

Union Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the public health response to COVID-19 must be guided by the fact that although cases were declining, the 2nd surge was not over. He added that 68.59% of the total cases in the last week were recorded in Kerala.

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