NEW DELHI: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director, Dr. Randeep Guleria said that the new COVID-19 strains found in Maharashtra could be more dangerous and highly transmissible, even cause re-infections in people who have developed antibodies to the virus.
The AIIMS director said, “In India, herd immunity for coronavirus is a “myth” because at least 80 % of the people need to have antibodies to protect the entire population.”
Dr. Shahshank Joshi, a member of Maharashtra’s Covid Task Force quoted to the media 240 new strains of the virus have surfaced across India, which is behind the new surge of infections that the state has been witnessing since last week.
Besides Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, and Chhattisgarh have also been witnessing a spike in numbers.
The vaccination plan of the government depends on the creation of herd immunity by immunizing a critical mass of people. The government plans to immunise 3 crore health staff and frontline workers in the first phase of vaccination. After it will be the turn of 27 crore individuals who are over 50 years of age or have co-morbidities.
He further stated that India needs to go back to aggressive measures of screening, contact tracing, and isolating infections.
Moreover, while asked about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the new strain, Dr. Guleria said
Asked if the COVID-19 vaccines in India are effective against the new strain, Dr. Guleria said, the vaccines will be effective, but their efficacy might be less. People might not be able to avoid getting the disease for instance, but they will have a mild form of it.
However, Dr. Guleria highlighted that it is a must to get the vaccine.
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