Studies have shown that only a small fraction of those who have been vaccinated in India tested positive later. Both the vaccines in use in India, Covishield and Covaxin, have shown low levels of infection post the shots, according to the data from the Indian Council for Medical Research. The data also showed that the rates of infection and mortality across various age groups remained close to what was seen during the first wave.


According to senior officials, even these low levels of infection could be due to the fact that the first set of people who were vaccinated were health and frontline workers who would have faced high viral loads post-vaccination. That the new variants that are driving the second wave may be more transmissible could be another factor. The numbers are also in tune with what is seen internationally.


The news of the vaccines vastly succeeding in their purpose of preventing infections is good news amidst India’s current predicament. The data also come within days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that vaccines were at the centre of India’s anti-coronavirus strategy, shifting from the Centre’s earlier stance that it was rooted in “testing, tracking and treatment”.


Another set of data that also emerged yesterday is that Covaxin has an interim efficacy of 78%, with 100% efficacy against severe forms of the disease and 70% against asymptomatic forms. While this indigenous vaccine developed by ICMR and Bharat Biotech currently forms only 10% of the vaccines being administered in India, the company has announced plans to expand vaccine production from the current 48 million doses a year to nearly 700 million. SII, the makers of Covishield, has also looking to expand its vaccine production, which is now at 60 million doses a month. The current rates of production and delivery, however, remain low, with only 29.9 lakh doses administered in the last 24-hour period for which data is available. Vaccines are being delivered in many States at much lower rates than what is possible due to shortages.


Yet another major number from yesterday is over 3 lakh daily new cases. This comes along with reports of a health system under severe strain with limited supply of oxygen and shortage of beds in districts that are showing test positivity rates over 15%. While the vaccines may have proven that they are doing their job, the flood of cases may remain unabated till they are able to do it at a matching scale. This is what makes the story important.(Courtesy the Hindu)


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