Reporting of COVID cases post vaccination ‘rare’, infection won’t reach advanced stage: Vardhan

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New Delhi, Mar 30 (PTI) Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who along with his wife took the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, said cases of individuals reporting coronavirus infection post vaccination are “extremely rare' and the disease among them would be “very mild and not progress to an advanced stage'.

Vardhan and his wife Nutan Goel were administered the second dose of the vaccine at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. They had taken the first dose of the indigenously developed ‘Covaxin’ by Bharat Biotech, on March 2.

“We are yet to feel the slightest discomfort since our first dose of the vaccine,” the minister said as he appealed to every eligible person to get vaccinated, especially in light of the government’s recent decision to extend the inoculation programme to all those above 45 years of age.

Vardhan talked about the provisions for AEFI (Adverse Events Following Immunisation) monitoring incorporated in the protocol and the abysmally low proportion of beneficiaries reporting AEFI, the health ministry said in a statement.

'All vaccines are absolutely safe, immunogenic and effective,' he underlined.

The health minister also addressed concerns about individuals reporting coronavirus infection post vaccination.

“These cases are extremely rare. Antibodies take two weeks to be fully developed after the second dose of the vaccine which provides a window for the infection. This takes us to our earlier appeal of strict adherence to COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) regardless of the vaccination exercise,' he was quoted as saying in the statement.

Vardhan noted that COVID-19 infection among those vaccinated would be very mild and not progress to an advanced stage.

Calling the various vaccine-related rumours being circulated on social media a “nuisance to society”, he strongly made the case to trust Science over WhatsApp forward messages, the statement stated.

On the second wave of COVID-19 cases being reported across the country, the minister said, “This situation is a grim reflection of the callous attitude of people in following the COVID Appropriate Behaviour. Following these norms along with participation in the vaccination programme are the key pillars of our ‘Jan Andolan’ against the pandemic.” He, however, said the essentials in controlling the disease trajectory like the “Test, Track and Treat” strategy are now well-known along with the clinical procedures to treat patients of severe COVID.

The Union minister also spoke about the highest level of engagement in monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the country, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interactions with chief ministers of various states, and frequent video-conferencing (VCs) by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan with his colleagues in states/UTs.

He noted that the country's COVID fatality rate stands at just 1.34 per cent, while the recovery rate is the highest in the world, the statement said.

He also mentioned that for 46 districts reporting coronavirus cases, around 400 districts are now free of the disease (187 districts with no fresh cases in seven days, 84 districts in 14 days, 20 districts in 21 days and 139 districts in 28 days), it stated.

The minister also informed that India has sent over 6 crore vaccine doses to 84 nations across the globe, while seven more vaccines are in the pipeline undergoing clinical trials.

He stressed that the principle of “none of us are safe until everybody is safe” is at the heart of the ‘Vaccine Maitri programme’ and is applicable in vaccinating one's near and dear ones.

He added that 7 lakh trained vaccinators, seamless registration in Co-WIN portal for over 10 lakh vaccination sessions, government and private facilities administering the vaccines, are some of the steps taken to make the vaccination drive a success.

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