Hospitalisation among vaccinated, unvaccinated in proportion, more data needed: officials
It further pushes the requirement for the third dose which the civic body will start administering from Monday as the waning antibodies could be the reason for reinfection or breakthrough cases, if civic data is to be believed
While the perception that more breakthrough Covid cases are being reported and most report only mild symptoms has led to a general public consensus that the Omicron variant could not be as fatal as the Delta variant, the data from Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) health department shows that the number of those who require hospitalisation, ICU beds or ventilators is almost proportionate irrespective of the vaccination status.
It further pushes the requirement for the third dose which the civic body will start administering from Monday as the waning antibodies could be the reason for reinfection or breakthrough cases, if civic data is to be believed.
As per the PMC health department, of the 3,976 Covid positives tracked for their vaccination status by the civic body up until January 5, 627 had not taken a single dose of the vaccine while 3,243 were breakthrough infections. However, out of the 627 patients reported who have not taken a single vaccine dose, two required ICU beds while out of the 3,243 breakthrough infections, four required ICU beds.
While the perception of Omicron being milder is leading to leniency among those vaccinated, the PMC data shows that with comorbidity factor and waning antibodies in place, both vaccinated and unvaccinated population could be at equal risk. The data up to January 5 includes only those with vaccination status and needs to be updated, said civic officials to get a holistic picture. Earlier, Pune mayor Murlidhar Mohol had said that 80% of the new cases are breakthrough infections and not require hospitalisations.
A senior doctor from KEM requesting anonymity said, “As per the data from our hospital admissions, of the 48 active Covid-19 cases, 34 or 70.8% are fully vaccinated. Of the three on ventilators, two have had no doses and one has had both doses. One on High Flow Nasal Cannula or HFNC has had no dose and one on oxygen has had two doses. All others are on room air and only isolated and 22 or (45%) have comorbidities. Of these 48, one is 9 months old, one is 13 years old and 21 of the 48 are over 60 years.”
The data shows that of the 3,900 new Covid cases reported, over 3,200 are breakthrough infections and despite fully vaccinated status, three needed oxygen beds and four needed ICU.
Dr Sanjeev Wavare, assistant health officer said, “Although currently the data might show that there is no huge disparity in those admitted in terms of their vaccination status, this would be too early to conclude anything based on this data alone. We have little information to jump to any conclusion. The number of cases is doubling in one or two days and so the picture could change drastically. However, we can say that despite such a surge the number of hospitalisations has not risen in proportion because compared to the second wave we have a large number of people vaccinated.”
Starting from Monday, the civic body will start a precautionary dose or the third dose for those who have completed nine months post second dose and for healthcare and frontline workers who will be given the third dose. Earlier studies had indicated that the antibodies developed post vaccination could wane off in a couple of months and so the government is now pushing for a third dose given the much anticipated third wave driven by Omicron.