The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Indian Council of Medical Research on Wednesday allayed fears about people testing positive after getting vaccinated, saying that the number of infections is ‘very low’.
Speaking to the media, the Health Ministry said that data shows that till date, four per 10,000 people tested positive after the first dose or second dose for Covaxin, and for Covishield, only two per 10,000 got infected after vaccination.
Dr Balram Bhargav, the Director-General of the ICMR, explained that the vaccines currently being used in India prevent severe disease and death, and reduce chances of infection. If one gets infected after vaccination, these are called breakthrough infections, he said.
The Health Ministry shared data on the number of people who tested positive after vaccination. In the case of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, out of a total 1.1 crore total vaccinations, 93,56,436 people received the first dose and 4208 (0.04%) tested positive after the first dose. 17,37,178 people received the second dose and out of them, 695 (0.4%) tested positive after the second dose.
In the case of Covishield, a total of 11.6 crore have been vaccinated — 10,03,02,745 people received the first dose and 17,145 (0.02%) tested positive after the first dose and out of the 1,57,32,754 who got the second dose, 5014 (0.03%) tested positive after 2nd dose.
“This is a very small number. Two-four per 10,000 breakthrough infections have occurred after vaccinations. This is because healthcare workers and frontline workers were first to be vaccinated and they are prone to more occupational exposure. This is not worrisome and vaccination should continue.
“The current highly transmissible second wave may contribute a little bit — a miniscule amount — to this percentage, and this could have even been zero,” DG ICMR said.
The Health Ministry reiterated that the vaccines are safe, and asked people to get vaccinated as and when they are eligible for the same.
“If you test positive after vaccination, we see overall the disease is not that severe. This is based on information that we have received so far. There can be an infection risk after vaccination, so you need to follow COVID-19 norms,” said VK Paul, NITI Aayog member (health). “Please get vaccinated,” he added.
During the weekly press briefing, the Health Ministry also shared comparative data, saying that the severity, virulence and demography of the victims in the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 are about the same as the first wave.
“In the age group 10-20 years, 8.07 per cent COVID-19 cases were reported in the first wave, while 8.50 per cent cases were registered in the second wave. In the age group 20-30 years, 20.41 per cent cases were reported in the first wave, while 19.35 percent cases were registered in the second wave,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told the media.
In those aged 30 and above, 67.5 percent COVID-19 cases were reported in the first wave, while 69.18 percent cases registered in the second wave, he added.