NEW DELHI: Hundreds of doctors have been infected in the third Covid-19 wave propelled by the Omicron variant. There has been no deaths, according to the Indian Medical Association (IMA). The second Covid-19 wave last year had claimed the lives of 700 doctors.
The national voluntary body of doctors has intensified its campaign among health and frontline workers, urging them to take precautionary or booster shots to bolster the fight against the virus. Till January 20, about 35 lakh health workers were eligible for the precautionary dose. Of these, 22.66 lakh or 63% have taken the shots. Around 33 lakh frontline workers were due to take booster shots and 19.14 lakh or 58% have got them.
Dr. Sahajanand Prasad Singh, national president of IMA, which looks after the interest of doctors and their well-being, said no doctor deaths were reported till January 21, confirming that the Omicron variant is less virulent and mild as compared to the Delta variant.
“Though Covid infected scores of doctors in these 21 days, the good news is that after a few days of recovery, they have joined work. Some even carried out surgeries,” Dr. Singh told this newspaper. The government rolled out booster shots on January 10.
As the uptake was less, the Union health ministry stepped up its engagement with state governments, doctors and medical associations to carry out awareness campaigns to encourage and motivate the medical community to take the doses. Booster shots can be taken nine months or 39 weeks after the second dose.
In a virtual meeting of health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and IMA leaders, booster doses for health and frontline workers were stressed. “These are the need of the hour as it doubly protects health and frontline workers,” said Dr. Singh.