As Covid cases rise, 76% increase in demand for booster dose in 15 days

The Indian Express | 5 days ago | 23-06-2022 | 03:45 am

As Covid cases rise, 76% increase in demand for booster dose in 15 days

Amid the apprehension of a possible fourth wave of Covid-19, there has been a 76 per cent increase in the number of precautionary or booster doses being administered in the 18-59 age group in 15 days of June across Maharashtra.Official figures show that between June 6 and June 20, 2,37,814 people in the 18-59 age group had taken booster shots, pushing up the administration of third shots to 5,50,006 from 3,12,192 in 15 days.During this period, the state also witnessed a surge of 15 per cent in the demand of booster doses for senior citizens. On June 6, 16,85,955 beneficiaries took the booster and within 15 days, the figure surged to 19,36,535.This sudden demand for boosters coincided with a six-fold rise in daily Covid-19 cases across Maharashtra. “…Amid the blip or you can say a surge in cases, the demand for boosters has naturally gone up, especially among the elderly and with comorbidities,” said Dr Vasant Nagvekar, co-director, Infectious Diseases, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital.The state has been pushing to increase vaccination coverage among the elderly through the Har Ghar Dastak 2.0 campaign that began earlier this month.“Despite the arrival of monsoon, our health workers are trying to reach far-off corners in the districts to vaccinate people with the third dose. With the flattening of the pandemic curve, the villagers were hesitant earlier but now, they are showing eagerness to get the booster dose,” said Dr Govind Chaudhari, district health officer of Nandurbar, which has the lowest vaccine coverage rate in the state.However, there are still around 1.37 crore people who haven’t taken their scheduled second jab in the state. Pune tops the chart with 13 lakh such beneficiaries, followed by Thane (9.28 lakh) and Mumbai (8.95 lakh).“Many people have still not taken their booster shots, which is why we need to get the message across that vaccines can save lives. There is enough data to prove that vaccines are one of the most important strategies to prevent severe illness and mortality. We need to understand their importance and convince people to take precautionary doses so that the virus can be controlled,” said Dr Rahul Pandit, a member of the Covid-19 task force.Doctors have observed that though vaccination doesn’t provide protection against infection but it does help in containing the severity, lowering the mortality rate.

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Kochi: Since June first week, when India saw re-emergence of new Covid cases due to sub-lineages of Omicron, Kerala has reported maximum new Covid deaths in the country. Between June 1 and June 25, Kerala reported 127 new deaths and 65,811 new cases. In other words, there were on an average five new deaths everyday. There were 78 backlog deaths during this period in the state.In contrast, Maharashtra, which has reported the maximum number of new Covid cases, 69,087, during this period, is reporting a much lesser number of Covid deaths 40. Delhi, which was among the first few states to see a spike in cases by mid April, in June, reported 22,611 new cases and 39 deaths. Even in neighbouring states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, the new Covid cases as well as deaths remain very low. While Karnataka reported 12,600 new cases in 25 days of June, there were only seven Covid deaths, in Tamil Nadu only one death was reported after 11,398 persons tested positive and Telangana despite 5,344 new cases didn’t report a single Covid death during this period.“We have a huge vulnerable population elderly and people with non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Majority of deaths here now are because of comorbidities and Covid is coincidental. Purely Covid-19 deaths are less now in Kerala,” said Dr Jayakrishnan A V, chairman of Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) committee on Covid vaccines and vaccination. Public health experts believe that the Kerala government, to protect the vulnerable, should strictly implement SMS social distancing, masking and sanitizing. Also, symptomatic people should be encouraged to quarantine themselves. What is now happening is that the symptomatic are freely moving around and going to the office, market and spreading the infection to the vulnerable section of the society. Also, even the symptomatics who are testing now are either those who have comorbidities or those who want to avail sick leave. “What we are seeing now is cluster-based Covid spread that is limited largely to 10 states in the country. In a few states, new Covid cases have started to dip,” said Krishna Prasad N C, state health department official who has been analysing Covid-19 data since 2020.“The fatality rates are not alarming and much lesser than what we saw during the Omicron wave. Of course, at present Kerala has a high number of deaths when compared to other states, but even then it is not alarming,” he added.

State must strictly implement SMS, say medical experts
Covid-related mortality higher among unvaccinated patients: BMC report
The Indian Express | 4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 12:45 am
The Indian Express
4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 12:45 am

Re-establishing the need for vaccination, the latest genome sequencing report of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has revealed that Covid-related mortality is higher among unvaccinated patients.Out of the 269 patients whose samples were taken for sequencing, 107 or 39.7 per cent were unvaccinated. Of these, five required admission in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and three lost their lives. On the other hand, among the eight patients who had taken one dose and 154 patients who were fully vaccinated, no death was recorded.The requirement of treatment in ICU was also found to be less among partially and fully-vaccinated patients. Only one patient who had taken both the doses of the vaccines needed admission in the ICU.“In the genome-sequencing report, we witnessed that the severity of infection was much higher among unvaccinated patients. This group of patients also needed more time for recovery. This again highlights the need for vaccination, especially among the elderly with comorbidities,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, Executive Health Officer, BMC.Echoing similar view, Dr Rahul Pandit, member of the Covid-19 task force, said that vaccines don’t provide shield against infection but lower the severity which contains the mortality rate. “Vaccines will confer sterilising immunity in everyone. They provide us immunity against severe diseases and mortality. These are generation one vaccines made from the ancestral strain; it has never been claimed that vaccinated people will never get infected. Also, if one gets infected, chances are that they will be asymptomatic or have minor symptoms,” he said.Since the surge in Covid-19, the civic body has been sending naso-oropharyngeal positive sample from hospitalised patients as well as people testing positive in dispensaries and laboratories for genome sequencing.As per the 13th genome-sequencing report, out of the total samples collected, 268 or 99.63 per cent were detected with variants of Omicron.  Of these, six and 12 patients were detected with the new variant of Omicron—BA.4 and BA.5 — respectively.A total of 60.59 per cent (163) Covid-19 patients found positive with the Omicron variant were in the age bracket of 21-60 of which 40 per cent (108) were in the 21 to 40 age group. Around 10.78 per cent (29) were in the 0-18 age group.On Monday, the state registered a total of 2,369 new Covid-19 cases, of which Mumbai constituted 1,062 cases. The state capital registered five more deaths which pushed up the total mortality to 37 as of June 27.

Covid-related mortality higher among unvaccinated patients: BMC report
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The Indian Express | 4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 12:45 am
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4 hours ago | 28-06-2022 | 12:45 am

Maharashtra, which is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 cases, recorded 46 fatalities in June, the most in a month since March. More than 70 per cent of these deaths — 33 — have been recorded in Mumbai.With the flattening of the pandemic curve, the state only reported 9,185 cases with five deaths in May — the lowest Covid-19 fatality rate reported since the beginning of the outbreak in March 2020. But as cases climbed, indicating the possible onset of a fourth wave, Covid deaths increased nine-fold compared to previous months in the state. As of June 26, the state registered a total of 74,499 new Covid-19 cases with 46 deaths.Although the number of deaths has climbed, public health officials say the trend isn’t concerning as the case fatality rate remains as low as 0.06 per cent.“Most of the deceased patients were elderly and had several underlying health issues like hypertension, diabetes, cardiac and kidney ailments, among others. Due to these health issues, their health condition deteriorates faster,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).Though recent reports indicate the presence of new Omicron variants in a few cities across the country, they are unlikely to become ‘variants of concern’, say doctors.Anticipating further spread of the virus, as seen in the last three pandemic waves, the public health department is making logistic arrangements to handle increased flow of patients. But as the severity of the infection is mild, most patients are recovering in home quarantine.“The new variants of Omicron — BA.4 and BA.5 — are causing the spike in cases. It is expected that it will spread further but that’s the nature of a virus. But our focus should be on the hospitalisation and death rates, which are still under control,” said Dr Pradip Awate, state surveillance officer.

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Times of India | 21 hours ago | 27-06-2022 | 07:56 am
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