A shot within the arm

Amidst concerns over the shortage of vaccines and the slow pace of the inoculation drive, there is no dearth of Indians, even frontline workers, who are still hesitant to get the jab. The results of an AIIMS study should be enough to dispel any doubts. Conducted on individuals who tested Covid-19 positive after being administered Covaxin and Covishield, it has revealed that there was no fatality. This first genomic sequence study of breakthrough infections — contracting coronavirus after being vaccinated — was carried out during April-May, when the second wave of the pandemic was at its peak. The viral load at the time of diagnosis was high in all the patients irrespective of the vaccination status, or the type of vaccine received. The initial course of the disease with high-grade fever for five to seven days, too, was similar to that experienced by unvaccinated patients. However, the fact that no death was reported is hugely reassuring.

Another affirmation of the vaccine’s significant role has been highlighted by a PGI study. It found 1.6 per cent breakthrough infections (48 of 3,000) among the institute’s healthcare workers, who are more vulnerable because of occupational requirements, from January to April. They had received both doses of Covishield and completed at least two weeks of follow-up after the second dose. One dose or two, the catch, as experts keep stressing, remains in not letting the guard down.

As more and more line up for the protection shield, vaccine inequity remains a core issue. Just nine corporate hospital groups in big cities, reports say, have cornered half of the stock meant for the private sector in May, the first full month since the Centre revised its vaccine policy and opened it to the market. And in Punjab, caught on the wrong foot, the government has withdrawn the stock following allegations of supplying vaccine to private hospitals in the state at a premium.

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