Insufficient vaccination; 9 out of 10 affected by Omicron stung with both doses: Center

At least nine in 10 people infected with the highly transmissible virus Omicron variant of Covid-19 are fully vaccinated, an analysis of 183 Omicron cases in India by the Center showed.

Sharing the results of the analysis on Friday, the Center stressed that “the vaccine alone is not enough to contain the pandemic” and recalled that the use of masks and surveillance are essential to break the chain of transmission.

The analysis, released by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, showed that 27% of cases did not have a history of travel abroad, indicating Omicron’s presence in the community.

It also shows that 87 people were fully vaccinated (91%), of whom three had also received booster injections; and only seven of the 183 people were not vaccinated while two were partially vaccinated. The Center also informed that the vaccination status of 73 of those analyzed was not known and that 16 were not eligible for vaccinations.

The head of India’s Covid-19 task force, Dr VK Paul, has warned that Omicron has a higher risk of transmission within households than Delta. “It is clear that it is spreading in households because Omicron is highly transmissible compared to Delta. That person who brings the infection from the outside, because he or she was not wearing a mask on the outside, will infect others in the house. This risk is higher with Omicron. We have to keep that in mind, ”said Paul.

“I want to stress the need for care. There are upcoming festivals and New Years and the new variant appeared during this period. Therefore, responsible behavior such as wearing a mask, hand hygiene, and keeping away from crowds is the way to go. Unnecessary travel should be avoided. We cannot be in large groups. It takes constant vigilance. Containment and surveillance strategies remain one of the major approaches to controlling the pandemic. We have vaccination but it alone is not enough to contain the pandemic. There should be special emphasis on contact tracing and perimeter control, ”said Paul.

The analysis, in terms of clinical symptoms, also shows that 70 percent of patients are asymptomatic. “The predominant strain in India is still Delta, including the recently identified clusters. Therefore, we must continue with the same strategy: appropriate behavior for Covid-19 and an increase in vaccination. Infection with Omicron does not necessarily lead to severe symptomatic clinical illness. In India, about a third of all detected cases were mildly symptomatic and the rest were asymptomatic. Therefore, I would like to stress that the treatment of Omicron in symptomatic individuals remains the same, ”said DG ICMR, Dr Balram Bharghava.

Paul also called on private sector hospitals on Friday to be ready to “reallocate beds, if needed.”

“Preparedness includes all of the preparedness at the health system level. The private sector will continue to play a very important role in the management of the pandemic … we ask them to do the audits and the monitoring of their availability of drugs and oxygen and to return to their SOPs specific to their facilities, so that we are really ready, ”says Paul.

“Human resources are very important. To make the infrastructure work, you need teams. A huge effort has been made by the government to create teams and train them. The same applies to the private sector. Therefore, a comprehensive preparation, in Omicron’s wake, is launched and undertaken, ”said Paul.

At Thursday’s meeting on Omicron, Paul said, the prime minister’s first message was about preparing district-level infrastructure against a possible increase.

Meanwhile, Bhushan gave a detailed breakdown of dedicated oxygen and intensive care beds for Covid-19 which are ready against the backdrop of a possible increase. He said that 18.1 lakh isolation beds, 4.94 lakh oxygen beds, 1.39 lakh intensive care beds, 24,057 pediatric intensive care beds and 64,796 non-ICU pediatric beds are available in the country. .

Bhushan said experience globally, particularly in South Africa, currently shows that a majority of hospital patients did not require additional oxygen medical support. “However, we have to be vigilant. Today we have created a capacity of 18,836 MT of medical oxygen per day. This is a significant increase in capacity after the second push, ”he said.

On Friday, Paul, referring to a WHO statement on booster doses that this should be “firmly based on the evidence,” said: “The WHO documents indicate that the introduction of the booster doses should be firmly evidence-based. Overall, it must be driven by science that is applicable to our situation; guided by science applicable to our vaccines.

He added, “A lot of what you’re reading is about other platform vaccines in different settings and with a different profile of comorbidities and age profiles in some ways. It must therefore be based on evidence. The science of India is very strong. There are intense efforts to cultivate the virus and we will be testing our vaccines (against Omicron). Rest assured that the decision on adolescent vaccination and booster doses will be made on the basis of scientific principles and the best interests of the Indian people. “

Regarding booster doses, Bhargava said, “There is a big discussion going on (about boosters). The Covid-19 working group has discussed this on several occasions. The deliberations are launched. We are looking at all the science from around the world as well as from India: about the T cell response, the antibody response, with a particular vaccine and with another vaccine. We are looking at how long it persists after infection.

The Health Ministry said on Friday that 358 cases of Omicron have been detected in India so far, of which 114 have fully recovered. Six states have reported more than 30 cases: Maharashtra (88), Delhi (67), Telangana (38), Tamil Nadu (34), Karnataka (31) and Gujarat (30).

Bhushan, also pointed out that the country’s first dose coverage reached 90% of the adult population, however, the “cause for concern” are the eleven states, where coverage is below the national average, including four large states. : Uttar Pradesh (84%); Maharashtra (87%); Bihar (78%); and Tamil Nadu (85 percent).

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