Vaccines have been found to reduce the chances of hospitalization by 75 to 80 percent in studies conducted among healthcare workers, underscoring the role of vaccination in protecting against Covid-19, VK Paul said, NITI Aayog health member and president of the Covid national working group.
Paul said studies have found that the chances of oxygen requirement among vaccinated healthcare workers were only 8 percent and ICU admission was only 6 percent. “Healthcare workers are the most vulnerable during the pandemic. Despite being a high-risk group, studies have shown that vaccines protect and reduce the possibility of serious diseases,” Paul said.
Ensuring that there would be a systematic flow of vaccines into the private sector, Paul said state governments are aggregating information on the spread of private facilities, their demand and ability to absorb the vaccine supply based on which doses will be available.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, 53 percent of all vaccines administered in the last six weeks are in rural areas. “Vaccination will be accelerated with the participation of the state, the center and the private sector,” he said.
According to the new guidelines that will take effect on June 21, states would have to aggregate the demand for private hospitals taking into account the regional balance and the equitable distribution between large and small hospitals.
Referring to the recent serosurvey by the Indian Institute of Medical Sciences and the World Health Organization, Paul said that children have been as affected as adults in the pandemic, although it has been a mild infection. However, he said the public-private sector will work together to ensure that there is enough infrastructure to provide specific treatment for children.
“If the virus mutates and starts to affect growing humans, then we have to be prepared,” Paul said. The AIIMS-WHO study found seroprevalence: prevalence of Covid 3 antibodies in 55.7% of those between 2 and 17 years old and in 63.5% of those in the group over 18 years of age.
Paul also said that even with a high degree of seroprevalence, the situation should not be taken for granted. Previous data have shown a high degree of seropositivity in the population of Brazil and even in Delhi, but the variant caused a large increase in infections in the last wave.
A nearly 85 percent decline in daily new cases has been seen since the highest peak reported on May 6.
A sharp 81 percent decrease in weekly case positivity rate has been observed. It was the highest at 21.6 percent between April 30 and May 6 and dropped to around 4 percent in the last week, according to data from the Health Ministry. The Covid-19 positivity rate is less than 5 percent in 513 districts, he said.