One Covid vaccine jab 96.6% effective in averting deaths, two 97.5%: Centre
One vaccine dose alone is 96.6% effective in preventing Covid-19 deaths in India, and two doses are 97.5% effective, the Union health ministry said on Thursday after analysing data between April and August.
The officials, addressing the routine briefing on Covid-19, also said that a new vaccine tracker will be launched with details of vaccinations and the number of fatalities among vaccinated people after breakthrough infections.
“It is an ambitious intervention aimed to monitor breakthrough infections and deaths, and is going to be online very soon on health ministry’s website for people to see,” said Rajesh Bhushan, Union secretary for health and family welfare.
The data will be collected from the government’s all major Covid-19 vaccine resources.
“We have tried to develop India Covid-19 vaccine tracker that has data synergies between CoWIN, Covid-19 India Portal, and Covid-19 testing portal of the ministry of health and family welfare, and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The data has been collected on the basis of ICMR identification number and mobile numbers of beneficiaries,” said Balram Bhargava, director general, ICMR.
The official then went on to give out data gleaned till now. “Vaccine effectiveness in preventing death after first dose is 96.6%; and after two doses is 97.5%. This vaccine protective effect against death is there in all age group; whether it be in ages above 60, above 45 to 59 or 18 to 44 years. The effect has been demonstrated in all age groups when we have combined the three data bases,” he said.
Bhushan also said that the key message that came from the vaccine tracker was that breakthrough infections after the first or both the doses do not result in mortality, and result in extremely low, almost insignificant percentage of hospitalisation.
“That is the message that comes out from the vaccine tracker; the granular details we will keep on sharing with you as we keep on developing the tracker, ” he said.
“It is clear from the data before us that when you give two Covid-19 vaccine doses, it provides near total protection from severe disease and death. We have shown you similar data earlier to emphasise the point that it is crucial to take both the doses. While it is important to get fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the data also shows that even the first dose provides significant protection against both, severe disease and death; as high as 90% and above,” said VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog.
“This helps in reiterating the fact that among all our tools to fight against Covid-19, vaccine is the most important tool that will act in controlling the pandemic in the long run. Going forward, this will change the scenario very dramatically,” he added.
On whether vaccine should be taken by those who already suffered from the viral disease, Bhargava said they should take the shot.
“There are clear instructions in this regard that all those who got diagnosed with Covid-19 should take the vaccine three months after getting the infection. There is another point to note that we have already established through published studies that infection plus first dose is equivalent to taking two vaccine doses. However, we still say that the course should be completed
According to the government data, 58% of the population above 18 years has already received the first vaccine dose, and 18% received the second dose, as part of government of India’s Covid immunisation drive that started in January 16, this year.
The centre has placed a fresh purchase order with the Serum Institute of India (SII) for 660 million Covishield doses to be supplied by December, according to people familiar with the development. As on Thursday, 720 million cumulative vaccine doses have been administered across the country.
The government is still deliberating over expanding vaccine coverage in children.
“Whether to start vaccinating children or not; or which ones to prioritise for vaccination, it is an evolving scientific and public health discourse. We are working actively in the direction of scientific validation of our vaccines for potential use in children,” said Paul.