Coronavirus updates | January 17, 2021

A health worker shows a vial of COVID-19 vaccine Covieshield at the Government Hospital in Tambaram near Chennai on January 16, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Velankanni Raj B

After a review of the first day of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, the Health Ministry on Saturday evening said 1,65,714 people were vaccinated as per the provisional reports. It said 16,755 personnel were involved in organising the immunisation session sites. “No case of post-vaccination hospitalisation has been reported so far,’’ it said.

However, a security guard who was administered a shot of Covaxin at AIIMS in New Delhi on Saturday was admitted at the hospital after he developed an allergic reaction as part of “severe” adverse events following immunisation.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are live updates:

Andhra Pradesh

Eight ‘adverse event’ cases reported in A.P.

Ten months after the first COVID-19 infection was reported in the State in March last, the vaccination drive against the virus began across the State on Saturday.

By 8.30 p.m., over 60% of the beneficiaries were vaccinated. Eight cases of Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) were also reported.

Of the eight AEFI cases reported, one was in Anantapur, two in Nellore, and five in Kurnool, officials of the Health Department said.

However, in another case that was not considered as AEFI, a health worker at the GGH in the city reportedly complained of dizziness after being administered the vaccine. Officials said she did not have breakfast at the time of getting the vaccine and that she recovered later.

Officials said only Covishield vaccine doses developed by the Serum Institute of India and ICMR were given to the beneficiaries.

New Delhi

Administer Covishield vaccine and not Covaxin, appeal RML Hospital doctors

Stating that doctors were “apprehensive” about COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, Resident Doctors’ Association of the Central government-run Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on Saturday requested the medical superintendent (MS) to inoculate them using Covishield vaccine instead of Covaxin.

RDA vice-president Nirmalya Mohapatra said that they did not announce any formal boycott of Covaxin and that they were yet to meet the MS of the hospital. “Many reached out to us once they learned that it is Covaxin and that is why we wrote to the MS today,” Dr. Mohapatra said.

“We would like to bring to your notice that the residents [doctors] are a bit apprehensive about the lack of complete trial in case of Covaxin and might not participate in huge numbers, thus, defeating the purpose of vaccination. We request you to vaccinate us with Covishield which has completed all stages of all trials before its roll-out,” the letter said.


Ready to take the vaccine any time: Yediyurappa

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said that he was willing to take a vaccination shot whenever he is allowed to, in a bid to reassure that the vaccine was safe.

Pointing out that several top doctors were administered the vaccine on Day 1, he said this shows that there is no need to worry or fear about the vaccine.

“We should be proud that the vaccines are indigenously developed,” he said. Asked when he will take the vaccine, the 77-year-old Chief Minister said, “Whenever they ask me to take, I will.”

The Chief Minister released a special postal stamp on COVID-19 vaccination.


Co-WIN app develops glitches on Day 1 in Karnataka

Several among the 243 vaccine session sites in Karnataka faced difficulties in operating the COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) application, resulting in the State achieving lesser than the targeted numbers. Only 62% (13,408) of the targeted 21,658 healthcare workers took the jab till 4 p.m.

Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar attributed the low numbers to several reasons, including technical glitches.

“On the first day, many who had co-morbidities and were on the list have not been inoculated. Besides, the vaccination started around 11 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. and closed by 5 p.m. We are hoping the numbers will go up from Monday.”

On technical glitches, the Minister told The Hindu, “There were just some teething problems and will be resolved from Monday onwards. Achieving nearly 62% on day for a new vaccine is definitely a good start.”


Vaccinate political executives to instil confidence among public: Puducherry CM

Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy on Saturday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include the political leadership of the country in the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme to instil confidence among the public to join the campaign.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, he said, “In countries like the U.K. and the U.S, the vaccines are administered first to the political executives of the country.”

“Similarly, in order to instil confidence among the public to get vaccinated, the political executives should be administered with Covishield/Covaxin or any other vaccine introduced to fight the virus in the country,” Mr. Narayanasamy said in the letter.


Brihanmumbai Municpial Corporation halts vaccination

The Brihanmumbai Municpial Corporation (BMC) on Saturday said the vaccination drive in the city would be halted on Sunday and Monday due to a snag in the CoWIN application, which is being used by people to register for the vaccine.

The BMC said, “Glitches were observed in CoWIN app following which offline registration was allowed today. But the government has made digital registration mandatory. Vaccination will be suspended till the glitches are rectified.”


Do not consume alcohol for 45 days after vaccination: Experts

Those who get vaccinated for COVID-19 should not consume alcohol till 45 days after vaccination, said M.K. Sudarshan, chairman of the State’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

He said consuming alcohol is not advisable after any vaccination. “Consumption of alcohol is known to affect the immune response. This has been seen in other vaccines. There is also a mention of this in the use of Sputnik V vaccine given in Russia,” he told The Hindu on Saturday after getting vaccinated.

V. Ravi, who is also part of the TAC, explained that alcohol consumption may lead to impaired liver function in a person who has been vaccinated and the person’s immune response may be compromised. “In such a case, the person may not develop adequate immunogenicity and the purpose of vaccination is defeated,” he said.


Australian Open to plough ahead despite players' quarantine anger

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has confirmed the year's first Grand Slam will go ahead from February 8 despite anger from players forced into hard quarantine in Melbourne due to positive COVID-19 cases on their charter planes.

Forty-seven players and their entourages have to isolate for two weeks in Melbourne in their hotel rooms and no longer be able to leave them to train after three coronavirus infections were reported on two chartered flights carrying them to Melbourne.

Other players who have landed in Australia are also undertaking mandatory 14-day quarantine but are permitted to leave their hotels for five hours a day to train, raising questions about the integrity of the Grand Slam.

New Delhi

Security guard administered COVID vaccine admitted at AIIMS after developing allergic reaction

A security guard who was administered a shot of Covaxin at AIIMS in New Delhi on Saturday was admitted at the hospital after he developed an allergic reaction as part of “severe” adverse events following immunisation.

According to AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, the security guard, in his 20s, at AIIMS who received the jab after 4 p.m., complained of palpitations and developed an allergic skin rash within 15-20 minutes after being inoculated and was admitted to the facility.

“He was immediately managed with appropriate treatment and he improved. He is stable. As a precautionary measure he has been admitted for overnight observation and his condition is being monitored. He is likely to be discharged in the morning,” Dr. Guleria said.


Travel agents’ body seeks guidelines for travellers who have taken Covid-19 jab

Travel agents' body TAAI on Saturday urged the government to come out with guidelines for travellers, both domestic and international, who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and asked to do away with quarantine requirement for such travellers.

Many countries have started the process of vaccination and travellers who have already been vaccinated are desirous of travel to India, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) said in a release.

However, currently, there is no clarity in terms of how their entry into India shall be permitted, it added.

Stating that a central-government mandated "uniform policy" is needed for this purpose, TAAI urged Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel "to set up urgent protocols for travellers who are getting vaccinated against COVID-19".

Andhra Pradesh

A.P. reports zero deaths for second time this month

For the second time this month, there have been no fatalities related to COVID-19 in the State. In the 24 hours ending Saturday morning, 114 new infections were reported and no new deaths occurred in the State.

On January 1, no deaths were reported, and, on an average, two deaths per day were being reported since then.

While the toll remained at 7,139, the number of infections reported so far increased to 8,85,824 with a recovery rate of 98.97% with 326 more patients recovering in the last one day.

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