COVID-19 | Govt. has enough vaccine stocks, says Health Minister Mandaviya

Mansukh Mandaviya said that India has enough vaccine stock, and that the government was in no hurry to procure more.

April 03, 2023 11:07 pm | Updated April 04, 2023 12:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Covishield vaccine.

The Covishield vaccine. | Photo Credit: ASHOK R

There would be no revision in the COVID vaccination policy for the country for now, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Monday, while speaking about the current spike in cases that India is reporting. He said that India had enough vaccine stock, and that the government was in no hurry to procure more.

“We have enough for those who want to avail of the vaccine in the government sector. Additionally, the private sector is also catering to those who want to get the vaccine dose,” he said. On Monday, India reported a single- day jump of 3,641 fresh COVID-19 cases (according to data released by the Health Ministry at 8 a.m.), a figure that is the highest this year so far. India currently has an active caseload of 20,219. The current daily positivity rate is at 6.12% which has almost doubled since the beginning of the month. The total tally of COVID-19 cases in the country since the onset of the pandemic is 4.47 crore.

The Minister added that there was no need to be worried or alarmed as the sub-variant of Omicron that is currently circulating in the country had not increased hospitalisation or severity of illness.

Watch | Data Point: COVID cases rise, but booster coverage remains low

“The cases are going up but we aren’t worried as the severity and hospitalisation has not gone up. The Indian government is prepared and is monitoring the situation,” said the Minister.

According to Union Health Ministry data updated at 8 a.m. on Monday, the total death toll has risen to 5,30,892 with 11 fatalities — three from Maharashtra and one each in Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, and Rajasthan — recorded in a 24-hour span. The toll also includes four deaths reconciled by Kerala, the data stated.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve, and based on the comparisons of antigenic cross reactivity using animal sera, replication studies in experimental models of the human respiratory tract, and evidence from clinical and epidemiological studies in humans, there is consensus among experts in WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) that compared to previous variants, Omicron represents the most divergent variant of concern (VOC) seen to date.

“Since its emergence, Omicron viruses have continued to evolve genetically and antigenically with an expanding range of sub-lineages, which so far have all been characterised by properties of evasion of existing population immunity and a preference to infect the upper respiratory tract (versus lower respiratory tract), as compared to pre-Omicron VOCs,” it added.

The global health agency also said that Omicron viruses account for over 98% of the publicly available sequences since February 2022.

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