Boost Covid vaccination rate, say health experts
The latest variants—BA.2.86 and EG.5—have surfaced globally.While no such cases have yet been reported in India, health experts said caution shouldn’t be thrown to the winds.
NEW DELHI: With new cases of COVID-19 attributed to BA.2.86 and EG.5 variants emerging in some countries, health experts have expressed concern at the low vaccination rate in the country.
Even though the World Health Organization (WHO) in May declared that the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer a public health emergency, newer variants of the virus continue to emerge and drive infections.
The latest variants—BA.2.86 and EG.5—have surfaced globally, leading to an uptick in hospitalization and deaths in the US and UK. While no such cases have yet been reported in India, health experts said caution shouldn’t be thrown to the winds.
Dr Vijay Kumar Gurjar, HOD, of internal medicine at Primus Super Speciality Hospital, pointed out that the new variants are pushing up the tally and toll in many countries and they could pose a threat to India. “The new variants can be a threat if international travel is not closely monitored. The previous waves in the country have shown that travelling can cause a spike in cases. As far as vaccine readiness is concerned, India has comparatively better vaccine coverage than before but recent reports indicate that the country’s Covid vaccination rate has fallen 75% since April,” he opined.
Dr Jugal Kishore, HOD, of community medicine, at Safdarjung Hospital, said multiple strategies can be deployed to keep the reemergence of the disease at bay. Among them, vaccination remains the most acceptable one so far, he said.
“The falling vaccination rate should be addressed to maintain immunity levels against the virus. Moreover, we must devise a strategy to tackle the virus. The properties of SARS CoV 2 match with the Influenza virus which has a tendency to evolve into a new variant every year. So we are bound to have variants of Covid-19 in the coming times,” he stated.