Vaccinated people testing Covid positive in second wave

People walk away after buying Remdesivir injections from a distributor in Kukatpally on Monday. —Photo:Surya Sridhar

Hyderabad: The second wave of Covid-19 pandemic across Telangana is infecting a large number of individuals who have already received the Covid vaccine. As a result, the public and even healthcare workers in the State are under a lot of confusion over the efficacy of the vaccines.

Instances of people testing Covid positive despite being vaccinated also strengthens vaccine hesitancy among the community. On Friday, Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr K Ramesh Reddy, who was among the first to receive the vaccine jab when it was launched on January 16, tested Covid positive.

Such developments also fuel doubts over vaccines and whether they are efficient against new variants of SARS-CoV-2, which are playing a significant role in driving the ongoing second wave of the pandemic. Senior doctors and public health officials in Hyderabad, who are tracking the development closely, said that at present nobody knows whether the new variants or mutations would make vaccines ‘useless’. However, they point out that new variants or virus mutations have the potential to reduce the efficacy of Covid vaccines.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national public health agency of United States that has taken up extensive research on the issue, says that ‘There will be a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated but still get sick, or get hospitalised or die from Covid-19’.

The CDC, which defines individuals who test positive for Covid after getting vaccinated as ‘breakthrough case’, says that such instances are expected. So far, during the ongoing vaccination drive across the US, the CDC has received 5,814 reports of vaccine breakthrough infections from across the country.

The reason for Covid infection after vaccination could be due to weak immunity, age, or the individual may have been exposed to the virus even before the second dose of the Covid vaccine, senior doctors here said. Dr VK Paul, a core member of the Covid-19 response team of the Centre, was recently quoted by several media outlets that for protection, people must continue wearing masks for a long time, despite getting vaccinated.

On its part, the CDC has said that ‘vaccine breakthrough cases occur in only a small percentage of vaccinated persons. Fully vaccinated people must continue to protect themselves like wearing masks, physical distancing, avoiding mass gatherings etc’.

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