Smart Vaccination, Not Mass Jabs, A Better Strategy to Fight Covid, Finds ICMR Study

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"Smart vaccination" in the case of Covid-19 pandemic makes for smarter public health choice than mass vaccination, finds a latest study by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The mathematical modelling-based analysis by the ICMR was published in a British Medical Journal.

According to a report in Times of India, study supports a focus on vulnerable or priority group. In a situation when vaccine supply is insufficient to cover all priority groups, model projections suggest that after key workers, priority should be accorded to all who are above 60 and subsequently individuals with co-morbidities. The analysis underlines that challenges that are particularly pressing in a country as large as India would persist even after more vaccine candidates are available. "Vaccination rollout should prioritise those most at risk of severe outcomes of infection," it says.

The analysis shows vaccine with 60% efficacy covering all priority groups would reduce peak symptomatic incidence of Covid-19 by 20.6% and total deaths by 29.7%. A similar infection-preventing vaccine with ability to prevent symptoms, but not infection, will reduce peak incidence of symptomatic cases by 10.4% and cumulative mortality by 32.9%.

Meanwhile, according to another recent study by the ICMR suggested that the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic will not be as severe as the second wave. The study titled 'Plausibility of the third wave of Covid-19 in India: A mathematical modelling based analysis', was published in Indian Journal of Medical Research.

The study demonstrated plausible mechanisms by which a substantial third wave could occur, while also illustrating that it is unlikely for any such resurgence to be as large as the second wave. "Preparedness planning for any potential future wave will benefit by drawing upon the projected numbers based on the present modelling exercise,” the study said.

However, the researchers also noted that the projections were subject to uncertainties and scaling up vaccinations is the only way to 'mitigate against any eventuality'.

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