SINCE THE Covid vaccination drive started in the country in January, there have been eight cases in Punjab of beneficiaries testing positive after getting vaccinated, as per data compiled by the health department.
Of the eight beneficiaries who tested positive after vaccination, while six tested positive after dose 1, two tested positive after receiving dose 2. However, in both cases of beneficiaries testing positive after dose 2, the window period of 14 days, which is required after dose 2, for antibodies to develop, wasn’t completed yet.
Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer, Covid-19, Punjab, said that of the six persons testing positive after getting dose 1 of the vaccine, two were reported from Mohali and one each from Patiala, Tarn Taran, Ludhiana and Sangrur. The two cases of beneficiaries testing positive after dose 2 were from Ludhiana and Mohali. All of them were vaccinated with Covishield, he added.
Dr Bhaskar, who himself tested positive after getting dose 2, said, “It had just been a week since I had received dose 2. A period of minimum 14 days is required for antibodies to develop after taking dose 2. No such case has been reported yet where a person tested positive after 14 days of getting dose 2.”
As per the state’s Covid bulletin released Thursday, 4.65 lakh doses of the vaccine have been administered in Punjab till now. A total of 2.27 lakh beneficiaries (frontline and healthcare workers) have been vaccinated with dose 1 in phase 1 and 78,439 with dose 2. In the phase 2 for 60+ population and 45+ with comorbidities, 1.59 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated with dose 1 in this category.
Experts say that eight persons testing positive after vaccine is a ‘miniscule and negligible’ number and in fact encouraging, considering that Punjab has administered more than 4.50 lakh total doses of the vaccine.
Dr Madhu Gupta, professor of community medicine, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, and principal investigator for Covishield vaccine, says that the purpose of the vaccine is to decrease the severity of the disease and reduce fatalities.
“In fact, it is very good news that just a miniscule number of persons have tested positive after vaccine seeing the total number of people who have been vaccinated. The efficacy of Covishield is 62 per cent. Also, it is only after 28-42 days of taking the dose 2 that antibodies are fully developed in the body, though they start generating after 14 days of dose 2. After taking dose 1, no one is immune. This miniscule number of persons testing positive after vaccine should not stop anyone from getting vaccinated. The main purpose of the vaccine is not to stop people from testing positive but to reduce deaths and hospitalisation. However, it boosts immunity and after getting dose 2, it is a possibility that majority will get immune as well.”