Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday appealed to fully vaccinated residents to continue taking precautions and cited data from the state Health Department, which showed that the rate of breakthrough infections was higher among those who had received both jabs of the vaccine compared to those vaccinated with a single dose.
Pawar quoted a health expert, who explained this anomaly by stating that fully vaccinated people tend to get careless and stop following precautions. “They don’t wear masks and hence seem to be more affected by breakthrough infections of Covid-19,” the deputy CM said after heading a Covid-19 review meeting in Pune on Friday.
So far, in Pune district, 14,182 (0.19 per cent) cases of breakthrough infections have been reported among 71.62 lakh residents vaccinated with the first dose. This figure stands at 8,836 (0.25 per cent) among 33.74 lakh fully vaccinated residents.
“We were puzzled by this and when we asked the experts, we were told it was because of the carefree attitude that people get after getting fully jabbed. This is a cause of worry and hence it’s important that people continue to wear masks and take precautions even after getting fully vaccinated,” said Pawar.
Shortage of syringes
Admitting that there was a shortage of syringes to administer vaccines in the district, Pawar clarified that the issue was being faced for vaccine doses being donated by private firms under Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. He said that about five lakh vaccine doses have been donated by various corporate firms in the district so far.
“When we get vaccines from the Union government, syringes are provided with them. However, vaccines donated by private companies are not accompanied with syringes. They expect that the government will arrange for them. Hence, to resolve this issue, the Pune Municipal Corporation has decided to order 1 lakh syringes and PCMC will do the same, to administer vaccines received from private companies. I have also directed the Pune Collector to make funds available to buy syringes for rural areas,” said Pawar.
Staggered approach to lifting restrictions
The deputy CM said that the district administration and the state government were positive about granting further relaxations to business establishments and cultural activities, but has adopted a staggered approach for the same.
He said the weekly Covid-19 positivity rate in the district has come down considerably with the PMC recording 2.1 per cent positivity (down from 2.9 per cent last week), while the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has recorded 2.2 per cent positivity (3.1 per cent last week) and Pune rural area has recorded 3.8 per cent positivity (down from 5.8 per cent last week). The mortality rate has also decreased.
“Considering this, the government is opening up schools and business establishments. We are also considering extending shop timings as well as allowing weekly markets and animal markets, but have decided to adopt a staggered approach,” added Pawar.