A single dose of Covid vaccine is 96.6 per cent effective in preventing death and two Covid shots are 97.5 per cent effective, the health ministry said on Thursday.
“The vaccines are disease modifying in that they prevent serious disease and death. They are not disease preventing,” said Balram Bhargava, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research.
The data analysed is for the period between April and August and does not distinguish between the different covid vaccines currently being administered in the country, said Bhargava.
This information, along with more data on breakthrough infections, is expected to be made available on the India Covid-19 vaccine tracker, which will be launched on the health ministry’s website soon, he said.
The tracker combines data from CoWIN, the national covid-19 testing database and the Covid-19 India portal of the health ministry to understand the trends in vaccination.
“The data so far has shown the same effectiveness across all age groups in preventing mortality,” Bhargava added.
While the data shows only just about one per cent increase in effectiveness after the second dose, the government has also appealed to people to ensure that they take the second dose of the vaccine.
India has vaccinated 58 per cent of its adult population with the first dose of Covid vaccine, while around 18 per cent have been fully vaccinated with both doses.
Health ministry has sounded caution ahead of the upcoming festive season and urged people to take precautions and avoid crowds. “We are still in the second wave,” said Rajesh Bhushan, health secretary.
The pace of vaccination has picked up in September, with an average of 7.8 million doses administered daily so far. “The total number of doses given in the last nine days were more than 60 million, which was higher than the total doses given in the entire month of May,” Bhushan said.
Thirty-eight districts in India are still reporting more than 100 cases everyday. Around 61 per cent of the total active cases are being reported in Kerala, he said.
On the timelines of availability of vaccines such as Moderna and Johnson & Johnson which have been given the emergency use authorisation, V K Paul, chairman, National Covid Task Force and member-health Niti Aayog said, “There are issues around on we have to find common ground with manufacturers.”
Paul also said that the trials of the children's vaccine for Covaxin are almost at the stage of completion and it could potentially be available for kids. “We are still working on the scientific validation of our vaccines for potential use in children. Only a limited number of nations have introduced it for children,” he said.
He also said that as schools are reopening it was important that teachers and other staff members were vaccinated, classrooms were ventilated, classes staggered and Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed.