Updated: July 14, 2021 10:01:40 am
STATE HEALTH authorities and experts have expressed concern over breakthrough infections. While studies are underway at National Institute of Virology (NIV) on this aspect, results of genome sequencing are also expected next week.
A breakthrough case is when a fully vaccinated person later gets the disease they were vaccinated against. No vaccine provides 100 per cent protection against an infection, so neither are breakthrough cases new nor are they unique to Covid-19.
“Most breakthrough infections are happening after a single dose of the vaccine,” Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the state Covid-19 task force, told The Indian Express. Dr Joshi said a single dose of the vaccine was giving a false sense of security to people and they had lowered their guard. There was a need to be more vigilant as there was some immunity only after a fortnight of both the doses of the vaccine, he added.
Dr Joshi also said the good thing, however, about breakthrough infections that have happened in large healthcare systems, is that most were asymptomatic, mild or moderate, rarely needing hospitalisation.
There are several studies from Apollo or Fortis hospitals, and Christian Medical College, Vellore, related to healthcare workers who have been exposed. These studies have looked at infection after both the vaccine doses.
The state government has also written to district health authorities to lay emphasis on timely completion of the vaccination schedule. The state has administered more than 3.5 crore doses and a massive chunk of the population is now up for the second dose of the vaccine against Covid-19, health officials said.
Overall, the caseload in Maharashtra is 61.57 lakh with the death toll now at 1.25 lakh. Pune forms 17.4 per cent of total positive cases in the state. In Pune, too, the weekly positivity rate (July 4 to 10) is 7.9 per cent as against a 7.7 per cent a week ago (June 27 to July 3). Among districts of concern are Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Ratnagiri, Sindhudhurg, among others.
Dr Joshi also said regulations and curbs had to be tighter as the current trend was not looking too good. Worldwide, people were concerned about Delta variant as it had a higher rate of transmissibility, and that there is a lot of active virus in circulation that needs intensive containment measures, he said.
Dr Joshi said, “As long as 70 per cent of the population is not saturated with both doses of the vaccine, we can’t say we out of the woods. Strict protocols need to be in place and we have to reduce crowding and ensure better ventilated spaces.”
He added, “Contact tracing may not be up to the mark, or testing may be less and we need to contain better, especially in districts of concern. The biggest challenge is that contact tracing should be 1:50,” adding that since the Delta variant was a fast and cluster spreading type, it needed tighter containment.
Citing an instance in Kolhapur, where there are tight curbs in place and a large number of people aged above 45 are getting their jab, Dr Joshi said they were still reporting high numbers with a test positivity rate of more than 10 per cent. “The unvaccinated population is still vulnerable and needs to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour,” he added.
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