More than half the number of deaths due to COVID-19 since mid-March has occurred among unvaccinated and partially vaccinated persons in Tamil Nadu. Now, with the novel coronavirus infection gradually rising and COVID-19 appropriate behaviour as well as vaccination slowing down, health officials and doctors have underscored the need for vaccination to protect against a severe disease.
Since the middle of March, 20 persons have succumbed to the infection in the State. Of them, 18 had co-morbidities. Among the 18, 10 were unvaccinated and two had received a single dose of the vaccine. One other person, who had no co-morbidities, was also not vaccinated, according to details from the Directorate of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.
“We found that 11 of the 20 who died were not vaccinated, two were partially vaccinated and seven had received two doses of the vaccine. Currently, deaths due to COVID-19 are occuring mostly in partially vaccinated or unvaccinated persons,” said T. S. Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.
He added that most of the persons were of old age with co-morbidities. “People may get infected after vaccination. But the vaccines will definitely reduce the severity of the disease and prevent death,” he said. There has been a drastic fall in the number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the State since March. However, this is no reason for complacency, according to experts.
Dr. Selvavinayagam said people should utilise the opportunity to get vaccinated in the forthcoming camp. “The majority of patients, who come with lung involvement and severe respiratory distress and are admitted [to hospital], are unvaccinated, while some of them have taken a single dose of the vaccine. The primary reason for the worsening of disease in persons with co-morbidities is not getting vaccinated. In my experience with patients, including those with repeated infections, vaccination protects from severity and death,” said E. Theranirajan, Dean, Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.
R. Jayanthi, dean, Government Omandurar Medical College Hospital, pointed out that vaccination provided people with the maximum protection. “Partial vaccination gives minimal protection, while not getting vaccinated is a risk,” she said.