Kerala

Cover as many people with first dose of vaccine: panel

The expert committee on COVID-19 in the State has recommended to the government that rather than prioritise the second dose of vaccine, the State’s efforts should be to cover as many people as possible with the first dose of vaccine, as even a single dose of vaccine has been proven to offer adequate protection to impact disease transmission and deaths.

At the national-level and in the State too, the governments have been giving priority to completing the vaccination of those who received the first dose. The idea has been that as many vulnerable people can be fully protected and prevented from dying.

However, recent studies have come out with evidence that the maximum benefit of vaccination in the community is derived from the first dose and that with adequate coverage, it can bring down disease transmission and serious disease.

Infections of SARS-CoV-2 fell by 65% after a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, preliminary results from a large U.K. surveillance study indicate, British Medical Journal reported on April 23, 2021.

The study reported that the reduction in infections went up to 70% after a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. (Not enough people had been vaccinated with the second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine to assess this).

The survey, carried out by the University of Oxford in partnership with the Office for National Statistics and the Department of Health and Social Care for England, included data from 1.7 million self-reported swab test results taken from 3,70,000 adults between December 1, 2020 and April 3, 2021.

The study found that 21 days after a single dose of either the AstraZeneca or the Pfizer vaccine, the rates of all new SARS-CoV-2 infections had fallen by 65% , symptomatic infections by 72%, and asymptomatic infections by 57%.

Koen Pouwels, the co-lead author of the study, was quoted as saying, “The protection from new infections gained from a single dose supports the decision to extend the time between first and second doses to 12 weeks to maximise initial vaccination coverage and reduce hospitalisations and deaths”.

“Many of the volunteers engaged in helping local bodies carry out various COVID-related activities, including following up those on home care or helping out at COVID first line treatment centres, and have not received even a single dose of vaccine and are totally unprotected. Many of the lower-level support staff in private hospitals too have not received the first dose of vaccine. Now that evidence is building on the efficacy of first dose in bringing down infections and deaths, the State’s priority now should be to extend the first dose coverage to the entire community,” a committee member said.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 5:04:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/push-first-dose-of-vaccine-panel-tells-govt/article34544712.ece

Next Story