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Fewer deaths during third Covid wave due to higher vaccination rate: ICMR chief

Fewer deaths during third Covid wave due to higher vaccination rate: ICMR chief

New Delhi; Indian Council of Medical Research chief Dr Balram Bhargava on Thursday said the current upsurge in Covid cases is not causing severe illness and deaths following the high uptake of Covid vaccines.

Addressing the media on the current Covid surge, he said that we have been able to prevent severe illnesses and deaths due to Covid-19 in the third wave due to the high vaccination coverage across the country.

Meanwhile, he added that the vaccine remains beneficial and deaths have considerably reduced as compared to the second Covid surge.

"Vaccines have remained beneficial in India. Deaths have considerably reduced due to vaccinations. In this third surge of Covid-19, we are currently not witnessing severe illness and deaths due to high vaccination uptake," he said.

However, those with comorbidities must monitor their health and avoid any complications, he added.

"Vaccine prevents death and therefore is a must. Deaths are very low in this wave because of very high uptake of Covid vaccines which is 94 per cent of the first dose in adults and 72 per cent full dose in the country," Dr Bhargava said.

About the Covid tests, he said that an increasing trend of home covid tests has been observed in this current surge. "In these 20 days of the year, we have seen 2 lakhs home tests," he added.

NITI Aayog's Member, Health, Dr V.K. Paul, said that the overall 16 per cent positivity in the country is very high. Some states even have reported over 50 per cent positivity like Goa. Kerala has 42 per cent, while Rajasthan has a 31 per cent positivity rate. Himachal Pradesh has around a 30 per cent Covid positivity rate.

Emphasising the role of vaccination to prevent infection, Dr Paul said that mortality has largely been reduced but the comorbid patients are still a major concern.

"In relatively low mortality phase of pandemic, comorbidities are most vulnerable, so precautions doses must be administered to the eligible population," he added.

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