FROM January 1, 2022, Chandigarh will limit public places to fully vaccinated people. So far, 70,4901 people have been vaccinated with the second dose in Chandigarh, or 83.62%. Chandigarh has a target population of 84,3000. The Ministry of Health, over the past two months, has been deeply concerned about a large number of beneficiaries late for the second dose of Covid-19 vaccination. With the emergence of the new variant and now cases of Omicron, the department urged people to come forward to both complete vaccination doses, run multiple campaigns, drive and now go door-to-door in rural areas, settlements, and densely populated places.
âWe wanted to achieve 100% vaccination (second dose) and that is why we contacted market associations, RWAs and sent our health workers to homes to encourage people to receive the second dose and educate them on the importance of completing the vaccine. We hope that concerns about Omicron will prompt people to come forward, âsaid Dr Suman Singh, director of health services.
According to experts, those who have not completed their vaccination cycle are themselves at risk for others, including their family members.
All Covid vaccines need two doses, except J&J in the US, says Dr. Rakesh Kochhar of PGI, because after the second dose, real protection begins. Fully vaccinated people are protected from Covid per se, serious illness and hospitalization, along with death and data also suggests benefits in a spread as well.
“The only thing that can prevent the spread and break the chain of infection is the vaccine and that is paramount,” says Dr Kochhar. Professor Jagat Ram, former director of PGI says we have to remember that Covid is not over and that the vaccine will protect us.
Dr Zafar Ahmed, senior consultant, Intensive Care, Respiratory and Chest Fortis Hospital, said it was administratively and medically impractical to limit public places to fully vaccinated people. âThe new cases, many of which are doubly vaccinated, have so far been mild and can therefore be easily mistaken for seasonal flu. Anyone can be a carrier. Wearing a mask in an appropriate manner is still lacking as a regular practice in public. Therefore, the focus should be on the application of appropriate Covid practices â.
Dr PVM Lakshmi, professor of community medicine and school of public health, said it wasn’t just the second dose, it’s time for a booster dose.
âWe’re still getting data and looking at trends, and so far we think it would be a good idea to replace the vaccine with a booster dose, so that the other vaccine can cover, if there are new variants, revolutionary infections. Right now, not just theory, we need a balanced decision about the booster dose, keeping practical issues and feasibility in mind.
We have immune memory, but it won’t work if the virus changes drastically, hence the need for a booster. The vaccines are changed, modified according to the new strains and if they are not effective against the new variants. So yes, it is an evolutionary process, âexplains Professor Lakshmi.
Professor Madhu Gupta, principal investigator for the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials, previously observed that the vaccine would prevent the spread of infection, strengthen herd immunity and prevent the incidence of new infections.
Prof. Sanjay Verma of PGI says that when we get vaccinated it stimulates our cellular immunity and antibodies are produced, which prevents the virus from entering and multiplying.
“Even after testing some people have fewer antibodies, they need to be assured that they are protected. The data clearly shows that with vaccination the disease burden is lower and disease prevention is proven,” adds Professor Verma.