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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

One dose of Covid vaccine 96.6% effective in preventing death, second dose 97.5%: Govt data

With 58 per cent of the eligible adult population in the country having received the first dose, and 18 per cent fully vaccinated, the data suggests that a significant proportion of the adult population has protection against severe disease and death.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |
Updated: September 10, 2021 7:16:33 am
Mega covid-19 vaccination drive in progress at an Anganwadi in Bhadaj village in the outskirts of Ahmedabad. (Express Photo by Nirmal Harindran)

The four-month data of the national vaccination drive, released by the health ministry on Thursday, showed that Covid-19 vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing mortality after the first dose stood at 96.6 per cent – reaffirming that vaccines offer near-total protection against serious disease and death.

The real-time data of Covid-19 vaccination between April 18 and August 15, showed the vaccine effectiveness in preventing deaths further enhanced after the second dose – and stood at an impressive 97.5 per cent.

Releasing the preliminary data on the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing death, DG ICMR Dr. Balram Bhargava, Thursday said the health ministry will soon be providing real-time vaccine tracker data that has been synergised using the CoWIN platform and the national Covid-19 testing database of the ICMR.

The data released on Thursday is significant. With 58 per cent of the eligible adult population in the country having received the first dose, and 18 per cent fully vaccinated, the data suggests that a significant proportion of the adult population has protection against severe disease and death.

“This dynamic data shows that vaccines being used in the national vaccination drive, even after the first dose, offers protection up to 95 percent against serious disease and death. It is clear that among the tools we are using in our fight against the pandemic, it is the vaccine tool, which is the most significant shield that is protecting us from death. It is also clear that if you give two doses there is near total protection against serious disease and death. This will change the scenario very dramatically,” Dr. V K Paul, Head of India’s Covid-19 task force said.

“We have vaccines in abundance. Those who are still left out, need to come forward and get their first dose. We have to achieve 100 percent first dose coverage even more rapidly, which will ensure that protection against deaths,” Paul said.

Sharing the preliminary findings, Bhargava, also said the vaccine tracker shows that Covid-19 vaccines are effective against death in all age groups. Bhargava also said that the ICMR is working on data on the percentage of the vaccinated population, who got infected after vaccination.

“We should remember that these vaccines are disease-modifying vaccines and not disease-preventing vaccines. So breakthrough infections will occur even after vaccination. That is why we keep on recommending that we need to continue the use of mask and Covid-19 appropriate behaviour. We are analysing the data on break through infection,” Bhargava said.

On Thursday, Paul, said that the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is holding deliberations on the possible rollout of vaccination for children. “When should the children be vaccinated is an evolving scientific and public health discourse. Only a few limited nations have had introduced vaccination for children. There is no recommendation from WHO that we should move in that direction. But the fact remains that the government is working actively in the direction of scientific validation of our vaccines for potential use in children,” Paul said.

“The Zydus vaccine has already been licensed for adolescents; we also know about its stockpile. Our scientific bodies are discussing on questions on how and when to give it to this group. The trials of Covaxin has also reached the final stages. Once, we have results, that vaccine will also be potentially available. The Biological E vaccine has also received an approval for phase 2 trials,” Paul said.

Paul, however, highlighted that vaccination of children, at present, based on scientific evidence, cannot be a requirement for re-opening of schools.

“Nowhere in the world, there is a requirement that to reopen schools, vaccination of children has to be done. That is not a criterion. However, it most desirable to vaccinate the teachers and the staff. Parents also have to vaccinated to protect themselves, if the child brings the virus to home,” Paul highlighted.

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