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3rd wave of Covid will be less fatal compared to second wave due to vaccination: Experts say

Our Bureau, Mumbai
Monday, September 20, 2021, 12:00 Hrs  [IST]

The third wave if at all hits, or if it hits in the next few months it will not be as fatal as the second wave was. This is because of rapid vaccination in the country. Almost 40 per cent of the adult population are vaccinated by now, stated experts.

“There are 94 crore adults in the 140 crore population in India. And we have reached a half mark in terms of vaccinating this adult population. We have been administering 75 lakh to 80 lakh dosages every day and at this speed, we need another 100 days to vaccinate 80 per cent of the Indian adult population. By the end of this year we will achieve this. This can prevent a third wave. Even if it comes, it will be a lot less fatal. The cases may not be more than 70,000 per day if we are hit with the third wave with the kind of vaccination we have achieved,” stated Dr M. Vidya Sagar, Fellow of the Royal Society, SERB National Science Chair & Professor, IIT-Hyderabad.

Dr Vidya Sagar was speaking at a panel discussion on ‘Covid vaccine in India and world’ with a focus on “Fighting vaccine hesitancy where we stand and what we need to do,” organized on Wednesday in Hyderabad by Hitex as run-up to a public health innovations conclave--PHIC Expo 2021 to be held in November.

PHIC Expo 2021 is a public health innovations conclave.

The three-day event, a first of its kind exclusively on public health in India will be held at Hitex from November12-14. It is going to be organized in partnership with so many organizations such as the Infection Control Academy of India and others.

“60 per cent of adults in this country are administered at least one dose. The USA has more vaccine hesitancy than India. They have vaccinated 70 per cent of their population at least one dose. And it will be difficult for them now onwards to substantially increase the number," he said.

Even if we hit a new variant that is 50 per cent more virulent than the Delta, we will still end up with not more than 1,40,000 maximum cases a day in the peak of the third wave, he added.

Another panellist GVS Murthy, director, Indian Institute of Public Health, said “Japanese people in South Asia routinely wear masks. Jain munis wear masks to prevent transmission and getting transmitted organs floating in the air. It is normal for them. Thanks to masks there is a decline in auto respiratory infections and TB cases. Should we not continue adapting to the new situation.”

Vaccines are doing a lot of good in preventing mortality and serious events of hospitalization and saving on hospital costs, he said.

He suggested that social distance is not the right expression instead it has to be physical distance.

Deepak Sapra, CEO (API & Services), Dr Reddy Laboratories said to be the man behind Sputnik being manufactured in India, said 5.7 billion doses of vaccines are administered in the world so far. 2.2 billion are administered in China, 0,75 billion in India and 0.38 in the USA so far. On average 33 million i.e 3.3 core doses are administered every day across the globe. 40 or 41 per cent of the world population is administered at least one dose of the vaccine.

UAE coved 90 per cent of its population, Qatar, Portugal and Spain 85 to 90 per cent, UK 70 per cent, USA 65 per cent and India 40 per cent.

But the situation in third world countries is very bad. Only 1.9 per cent of the population of Nigeria is administered vaccination, Tanzania just 0.5 per cent. 60 out of a total of 208 countries in the world have administered vaccination to less than 1 per cent of its population, Deepak stated.

With a combination of vaccines, covid appropriate behaviour and therapeutic cure, Corona in future will become a treatable disease like any other viral infection, he added.  

Dr MSS Mukherjee, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Medicover said initially doctors too were hesitating to take vaccines. The day we took the vaccination, my wife and I were awake all through the night, he added.

Now that 75 crore vaccines are administered in India, we know well now that the vaccines available in India are very safe.

He added that vaccine hesitancy no longer exists in the upper strata of society. It is only prevalent among the rural population.

Speaking at panel discussion, Dr Ranga Reddy Burri, President, Infection Control Academy of India said the speed of vaccine development surprised everybody as they have developed so fast thanks to the technology it was reduced from a decade to a year or two.

Though vaccine development takes time they were done at lightning speed because of the political commitment, money, technology and the need. 20 vaccines developed across the globe, 8 are widely known and 300 candidates are in pipeline, he added.

The diversity of India necessitates community engagement at the local level, through such mediums that evoke trust, to counter misinformation about getting vaccinated, added all the panelists.

 

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