Third wave: As Covid-19 hospitalisations rise, even the vaccinated are not spared

Vaccinated persons who get the virus are more likely to have mild symptoms, if any, since the shots trigger multiple defences in the immune system, making it more difficult for Omicron.

Published: 07th January 2022 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th January 2022 12:55 PM   |  A+A-

People wearing face masks as a precaution against the coronavirus wait for bus in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  As the number of Covid-19 patients increase, trend suggests both unvaccinated and vaccinated are landing up in hospitals in equal measures. Many hospitals in the National Capital Region, which is seeing a sharp rise in active cases, are seeing a significant number of new admissions, most of whom had taken both shots against Covid-19.

“I have quite a few Covid-19 patients in my hospital and most of them are fully jabbed,” said Yatin Mehta, head of critical care department at Medanta Hospital in Gurugram.

Experts and researchers have inferred that Omicron appears to replicate much more efficiently than previous variants and if infected people have high virus loads, there is a greater likelihood of them passing it on to others, especially the unvaccinated.

Vaccinated persons who get the virus are more likely to have mild symptoms, if any, since the shots trigger multiple defences in the immune system, making it more difficult for Omicron to slip past all.

In India so far, while one death due to Omicron has been confirmed, a 73-year-old patient in Rajasthan, daily deaths in major cities where the variant is already the dominant strain have also started rising. This raises concerns that it may not be all that “mild”.

At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, where a large number of healthcare workers including doctors are down with the infection despite full vaccination, Anjan Trikha, head of critical care medicine said admissions are increasing.

“There are definitely a lot of cases of breakthrough infections even though I do not have data on Covid patients,” he said.

Some experts, meanwhile, sounded optimistic that while many patients, especially those with comorbidity, might need hospital care, mortality rate among those vaccinated is expected to remain low and the available vaccines primarily cut the risk of severe disease and death.

They cited data released by the UK Health Security Agency on Wednesday which showed that the risk for adults of being admitted to hospital with Omicron was about one third of that for the Delta variant.

Evidence from the USA and UK have shown that in those who received two doses of Pfizer or Modern vaccines, effectiveness dropped significantly but vaccines did show some immunogenic response against Omicron.

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 148.58 crore on Thursday, with 1,64,98,400 beneficiaries in the age group of 15-18 years being given the first dose, according to the Union health ministry data.

More than 87 lakh (87,66,164) vaccine doses have been administered till 7 pm on Thursday.

It includes 35,98,243 doses administered to beneficiaries in the 15-18 years age group.

The daily vaccination tally is expected to increase with the compilation of the final reports for the day by late tonight.

The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 last year with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated in the first phase.

The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.

The country launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from April 1 last.

The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 to be vaccinated from May 1.

The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from January 3 this year for adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years.

(With PTI Inputs)



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