Over 28L inoculated thus far; Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand need to improve coverage, says Centre

The Union Health Ministry on Thursday claimed that India has nearly flattened its coronavirus infection curve with pro-active testing and vaccination drives along with a consistent rise in the cumulative recoveries across the nation.

FP Staff January 28, 2021 18:39:14 IST
Over 28L inoculated thus far; Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand need to improve coverage, says Centre

Union Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan briefs the media on Thursday. ANI

The Union Health Ministry  on Thursday claimed that India has nearly flattened its coronavirus infection curve with pro-active testing and vaccination drives along with a consistent rise in the cumulative recoveries across the nation.

In a press briefing, the health secretary also revealed that the recovery rate has reached nearly 97 percent, which is one of the highest globally.

The ministry, however, advised caution regarding following of all COVID-19 health guidelines and spreading awareness about the vaccination programme, pointing out that around 78 percent of the new cases are still concentrated in five states and union territories, while two of these states accounted for more than 67 percent of the total national count.

It also added that Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra have less than 21 percent vaccination coverage and need to improve.

Over 28 lakh Indians immunised so far

Sharing the details of the inoculation programme, the health ministry said that till 7 pm of 28 January, total of28,47,608 beneficiaries have been vaccinated.

Addressing a press conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that India was the fastest country to reach 1 million COVID-19 vaccinations in six days, while the US took 10 days, Spain 12, Israel 14, the UK 18, Italy 19, Germany 20 and UAE 27 days.

The ministry also released the state numbers, indicating that needed to improve their inoculation drives included Jharkhand, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

Lakshadweep, Odisha, Haryana and Rajasthan were among the best performing states in terms of the vaccine reaching the intended beneficiaries since the kick-off.

In a span of 24 hours, 3,26,499people were vaccinated across 6,102 sessions. A total of 42,674 sessions have been conducted so far, the ministry said.

In a separate government event held Thursday, Dr Vinod K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said that India currently occupies the sixth spot in the world in providing vaccination coverage and will move to the third place in the next few days.

The ministry also claimed that no severe adverse effects were reported among the recipients of the two vaccines, while mild side effects were noted in 293 recipients till 7 pm on day 13 of the vaccination drive,.

Till date, there have been the total 16 hospitalisations which is 0.0007 percent of the total people vaccinated so far, additional secretary in the Union Health Ministry Dr Manohar Agnani had said. He said that between 26 and 27 January, one person who is suffering from bacterial sepsis has been hospitalised at the Apollo Hospital, Chennai. He was vaccinated on 23 January and was hospitalised on 24 January.

"Total nine deaths have been reported so far. None of these deaths have been causally linked with COVID-19 vaccination," the ministry said.

India's COVID recovery rate nearly 97%

With a consistent rise in cumulative recoveries, India's COVID-19 recovery rate has reached nearly 97 percent which is one of the highest globally, the Union health ministry said on Thursday. With 14,301 patients being discharged in a span of 24 hours, the total COVID-19 recoveries have surged to 1,03,73,606.

India's total number of active cases has dropped to 1,73,740 and now consists of just 1.62 percent of the total cases.

Following the national trend of sustained decline in active cases, 31 states and union territories have recorded less than 5,000 active cases, the ministry said. It said that 78 percent of the active cases are concentrated in five states: Kerala, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and West Bengal.

Kerala continues to report the highest daily new cases at 5,659, followed by Maharashtra with 2,171, while Tamil Nadu reported 512 new cases. A total of 123 deaths were recorded in a span of 24 hours.

Seven states and union territories account for 75.61 percent of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (32). Kerala follows with 20 daily deaths and Punjab with 10.

India flattened its COVID curve, says Harsh Vardhan

India has flattened its COVID-19 graph and 146 districts have reported no new case of the viral disease in the last seven days, 18 in 14 days, six in 21 days and 21 districts in the last 28 days, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.

This has been achieved due to pro-active testing with more than 19.5 crore COVID-19 tests conducted in the country so far, Vardhan, who chaired the 23rd meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 through a video-conference, said, according to a statement issued by the health ministry.

The current testing capacity is 12 lakh tests per day, the minister added.

Of the over 700 districts in the country, around 20 percent have not reported any COVID-19 case in the last one week.

"With the 'whole of government' and 'whole-of-society' approach envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, India has successfully contained the pandemic. Less than 12,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours and the active caseload has reduced to just 1.73 lakh," he said.

Vardhan informed that a meagre 0.46 percent of the 1.73 lakh active COVID-19 cases is on ventilators, 2.20 percent is in the ICU and 3.02 percent is on oxygen support.

The minister stated that 165 cases of a new UK variant of the virus have so far been reported in the country and the patients are kept under supervised quarantine and surveillance.

Dr Sujeet K Singh, director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), presented a detailed report on the current and future scenario of COVID-19 in India, drawing a comparison with the trajectory of the confirmed cases and growth rates of the viral disease in other countries.

India has reported a seven-day growth rate of 0.90 percent, amongst the lowest in the world, he stated.

Singh presented a granular analysis of the trajectory of the pandemic in India, pointing towards critical parameters such as day-wise confirmed new cases with the growth rate, recovery rate, case-positivity rate, trend of active cases, concentration of cases in particular districts and other trends such as fatality and the spread of the new UK-variant cases across different states.

India's Case Fatality Ratio is showing a declining trend from 3.4 percent in mid-June 2020 to the current rate of 1.4 percent due to effective clinical management, he said.

The NCDC director also informed that Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu have the highest recovery rate of 99.79 percent, followed by Arunachal Pradesh (99.58 percent) and Odisha (99.07 percent), while Kerala has a recovery rate of 91.61 percent because of its present high active caseload.

He added that Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Kozhikode are the top five districts in the country currently in terms of reporting the highest number of active cases.

Maharashtra and Kerala account for 70 percent of the active cases in India at the moment, Singh said.

Govt endorses study claiming Covaxin effective against UK strain; AstraZeneca's shot runs into trouble in Germany

The health ministry Thursday endorsed a study published on Wednesday claiming that Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is effective against the UK variant of the coronavirus strain. It is important to note here that the study was conducted by Bharat Biotech on 26 recipients only.

Covaxin is India's totally indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology.

The vaccine is currently under Phase 3 trials and is being used as part of the nationwide immunisation programme for healthcare workers after the Central Licensing Authority granted permission for the sale or distribution of Covaxin for restricted use in emergency situations.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca's vaccine, which is being produced in India as well by the Serum Institute of India, ran into some trouble in Germany.

Germany's vaccine commission said Thursday it could not recommend the use of AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for older people, the latest twist in a row over the jab that has put Britain and the EU on a collision course.

The panel of scientific experts, called STIKO, said the vaccine should only be used for "persons aged 18 to 65 years old based on available data". "There is currently insufficient data to assess the efficacy of the vaccine for persons aged 65 years and older," said the panel.

India plans to vaccinate people aged above 60 years and those with identified comorbidities in Phase-three of the vaccination. SII's vaccination is likely to be a part of that drive, although government has also kept other options open.

Meanwhile, despite the German questions over the efficacy of the vaccine on older people, AstraZeneca's jab has already been authorised and used widely in Britain.

Britain's MHRA regulator said in its consideration of the vaccine that "there is limited information available on efficacy in participants aged 65 or over, although there is nothing to suggest lack of protection".

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisations at the government agency Public Health England, also backed the AstraZeneca vaccine for older recipients.

"Both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are safe and provide high levels of protection against COVID-19, particularly against severe disease," she said.

"There were too few cases in older people in the AstraZeneca trials to observe precise levels of protection in this group, but data on immune responses were very reassuring," Ramsay added.

"The risk of severe disease and death increase exponentially with age — the priority is to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible with either vaccine, to protect more people and save more lives."

With inputs from PTI


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