In brutal second wave mortality, vaccines made all the difference: India's health ministry

Reaffirming the critical role of Covid-19 vaccines in protection against death, India's health ministry data show that in the first seven weeks of the second wave of the pandemic, the 60-plus age group reported about 121 weekly deaths per million among the non-vaccinated, 2.6 weekly deaths per million among those who had received their first dose, and 1.76 weekly deaths per million among those who were fully vaccinated

Sep 30, 2021
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Vaccination in India

Reaffirming the critical role of Covid-19 vaccines in protection against death, India's health ministry data show that in the first seven weeks of the second wave of the pandemic, the 60-plus age group reported about 121 weekly deaths per million among the non-vaccinated, 2.6 weekly deaths per million among those who had received their first dose, and 1.76 weekly deaths per million among those who were fully vaccinated.

The data, being collated for a vaccine tracker to be launched soon, is significant, especially in the backdrop of public health experts expressing concern over a possible surge in cases following the festival season in October. Moreover, about 24 per cent of the estimated 60-plus population, identified as the most vulnerable group, are still unvaccinated, The Indian Express said.

According to the latest data, a little over 100 million persons in the 60 years and above category have got their first dose, and about 60 million are fully vaccinated.

On September 9, the health ministry released the first real-time data of India’s vaccination drive, which showed near-total efficacy in preventing serious illness and death. The data for four months (April 18-August 15) showed that vaccine efficacy in preventing deaths was 96.6 per cent after the first dose and 97.5 per cent after the second dose. A total of 252,873 deaths were reported in this period.

The vaccine efficacy was calculated on the basis of granular data on the weekly deaths per million, based on the ICMR’s Covid-19 testing data, vaccination data updated on the Co-Win platform, and the health ministry’s official death count.

An analysis of this granular data showed a huge difference in the absolute number of deaths that were reported among the unvaccinated, as compared to those who were vaccinated, even during the peak of the second wave, The Indian Express said.