December 25, 2021 7:28:59 am
FROM January 1, 2022, Chandigarh will limit public places to the fully vaccinated. So far, 70,4901 people have been vaccinated with the second dose in Chandigarh, which is 83.62 per cent. Chandigarh has a target population of 84,3000. The Health Department, over the last two months, has been deeply concerned about a large number of beneficiaries overdue for the second dose of Covid-19 vaccination. With the emergence of the new variant and now cases of Omicron, the department has been urging people to come forward to complete both the doses of vaccination, running several campaigns, drives, and now door-to-door visits in rural areas, colonies, and places with a high density of population.
“We wanted to achieve 100 per cent vaccination (second dose) and that’s why have been reaching out to market associations, RWAs and sending our health care workers to homes to encourage people to get the second dose and also educate them about the importance of completing the vaccination. We hope that the concern regarding Omicron will motivate people to come forward,” said Dr Suman Singh, Director Health Services.
According to experts, those who have not completed their vaccination cycle, are at risk themselves as well to others including their family members.
All Covid vaccines need two doses except J&J in the USA, says Dr Prof Rakesh Kochhar from PGI, for after the second dose, the real protection starts. Fully vaccinated people are protected against Covid per se, serious disease and hospitalisation, as well as death and data, also suggest benefits in a spread as well.
“The only thing that can prevent spread and break the chain of infection is the vaccine and it is paramount,” says Dr. Kochhar. Prof Jagat Ram, former director PGI says that we need to remember that Covid is not over and the vaccine will protect us.
Dr Zafar Ahmed, Senior Consultant, Critical Care, Pulmonology and Chest Fortis Hospital, said that it is impractical, both administratively and medically, to limit public places to the fully vaccinated. “New cases, many doubly vaccinated, so far are mild ones and therefore can be easily confused with seasonal flu. Anyone can be a carrier. Wearing mask appropriately is still missing as a regular practice in public. Therefore, emphasis should be on enforcing the Covid appropriate practices”.
Dr PVM Lakshmi, Professor, Community Medicine and School of Public Health says that not just the second dose, it is time for a booster dose.
“We are still getting data and studying trends, and till now, we believe it would be a good idea to switch the vaccine for a booster dose, so that the other vaccine can cover-up, in case of new variants, breakthrough infections. Right now, not just theory, we need a balanced decision about the booster dose, keeping in mind the practical issues and feasibility.
We have an immunised memory, but it won’t work if the virus changes drastically, so the need for a booster. Vaccines are changed, modified according to new strains and if they are not effective against new variants. So yes, it is an evolving process,” explains Prof Lakshmi.
Prof Madhu Gupta, the Principal Investigator for the clinical trials of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine had earlier observed that the vaccine will prevent the spread of infection, build herd immunity and the incidence of new infections will be prevented.
Prof Sanjay Verma, from the PGI, says that when we get vaccinated, it stimulates our cellular immunity, and antibodies are produced, which prevent the entry of virus, and its multiplication.
“Even after tests, some people show fewer antibodies, they should rest assured that they are protected. Data clearly shows that with vaccination, disease burden is less and there is proven prevention of disease,” adds Prof Verma.
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