BHUBANESWAR: The State government on Monday decided to conduct serosurvey in 12 districts to estimate the age-specific prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the general population and healthcare workers.
The serological surveillance will be carried out by the Bhubaneswar-based Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) in Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Keonjhar, Khurda, Puri, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Kandhamal, Kalahandi and Nabarangpur districts in phases.
The serosurvey to find out the exposure of children and adolescents besides the unvaccinated group to the pandemic as well as assess the persistence of immunity among the vaccinated group assumes significance as decisions on opening of educational institutions and targeting the last mile in immunisation need to be made.
"The first state-level survey after expansion of the vaccination programme is aimed at estimating the coverage of Covid vaccination among the community and healthcare workers. This would be a population-based, age-stratified and cross-sectional survey," the order issued by the Health department stated.
The participants will be chosen from the community and healthcare workers from 12 districts selected from the three geo-political divisions of the state. Households whose adults agree to provide informed consent for themselves and their children will be included in the study.
A total of 400 samples from the community (randomly) and 100 from the healthcare workers (purposively) will be collected from each district.
"We will select 10 clusters (wards in urban areas and villages in rural areas) from each district using population proportionate to size method. The survey teams would select four random starting points within each of the selected cluster. Samples will be collected from people, aged six years and above," said a
researcher at RMRC.
So far, the RMRC has undertaken four rounds of serological surveillance to assess the population trends of infection and each round showed a steadily increasing level of community level exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
The surveys have not only helped formulate public health policy decisions at the national and state level for prioritising resources, but also in planning for containing the pandemic and taking decisions on imposition and withdrawal of lockdown restrictions.