An audit of 280 COVID-19 deaths in Ernakulam district of Kerala has revealed that nearly 98% of deaths had occurred among those who had not been fully vaccinated.
They included people who have not received even one dose of vaccine. “The data showed that vaccines are effective in reducing deaths. We have seen a similar pattern in countries like the US and the UK, where fatality rates have come down among vaccinated population,” said Rajeev Jayadevan, convener of the scientific committee and former president of the Kochi chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
Maintaining that vaccine effectiveness had brought down the number of deaths, Dr. Jayadevan cautioned the public against lowering the guard against COVID-19 with the confidence that they have been vaccinated. “We are witnessing an increase in breakthrough infections in the district. People need to step up vigil despite being vaccinated,” he said.
M.G. Sivadas, Reproductive and Child Health Officer and nodal officer for immunisation, said vaccine hesitancy was not even one per cent among the target population in Ernakulam. “The demand for vaccine is considerably high. Around 96.6% of the target population above 60 years had received the first dose. About 30,000 persons in this category could not receive the first dose, as they had tested positive over the last three months,” he said.
Dr. Sivadas said 85% of the target population in the district had received the first dose. Around 28% of the target population have been fully vaccinated, as per the latest estimates. On the demand for a third dose / booster dose, he said vaccination could be administered only in accordance with guidelines issued by the Central and State governments.
Dr. Jayadevan said efforts had to be made to reduce vaccine hesitancy, even if it was considerably low among the target population. “We should realise that the number would be huge even if it is one per cent of the target population. The district should also have more drive-in vaccine camps to increase coverage,” he said.