Kerala

State to speed up second dose of vaccination

People from various walks of life contributed in speeding up the vaccination programme at Maradi panchayat.  

In the midst of mounting uncertainties surrounding the new SARS CoV2 variant B.1.1.529, named Omicron and assigned the status, a variant of concern (VoC) by the WHO, the Health Department has been asked to improve the coverage of second dose of COVID-19 vaccination from the current 63% to 90% ‘expeditiously within the next two weeks.’

The review meeting called by the Chief Minister on Saturday to assess the new and emerging COVID-19 situation, in the light of the emergence of the new variant, pointed out that according to available information, Omicron seemed to have a significant number of mutations and increased risk of re-infections when compared to the other VoCs

“It is too early to conclude anything because we have no idea about the transmission rate or the extent of the immune escape potential of the new variant. This is not a virus which will stabilise and mutations will keep happening and it certainly does not warrant panic every time a new mutation is detected. While it is not yet known whether the effect of vaccination might be lower against the new variant, vaccination can still protect against serious disease,” a member of the State-level expert committee on COVID-19 said.

According to information in the public domain, courtesy IGIB, the six variants spanning the spike receptor binding domain of the B.1.1.529 lineage has been found to be resistant to several monoclonal antibodies, including its cocktails, some of which are widely in therapeutic use currently.

Angelique Coetzee, the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, was quoted in a BBC interview on Saturday that “the new Omicron variant of the Coronavirus results in mild disease, without prominent symptoms, apart from sore muscles, mild fatigue and slight cough.”

According to a recent study in NEJM (Severity of SARS CoV2 re-infections as compared with primary infections, November 24), COVID-19 re-infections had 90% lower odds of resulting in hospitalisation or death than primary infections. Re-infections, the study said, were rare and mild perhaps because of the primed immune system after primary infection.

Clinicians said that this was yet another reassurance that one should not be overly concerned about new variants of the virus, even if it causes re-infections.


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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 8:26:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-to-speed-up-second-dose-of-vaccination/article37742696.ece

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