New Delhi: An analysis of patients admitted between November and January in 37 hospitals, conducted by the National Clinical Registry of Covid-19 of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has concluded that vaccination significantly reduces the risk of death from Covid.
The analysis found that 10 per cent of deaths among those who were hospitalised were among people who had been fully vaccinated, while 21.8 per cent deaths occurred among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people. In the latter group, 83 per cent also had comorbidities. Among the fully vaccinated people who died, 91 per cent had comorbidities.
Among fully vaccinated patients who were admitted to hospitals with Covid, 36 per cent needed oxygen during treatment, while among unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, 45.5 per cent needed oxygen. Among fully vaccinated Covid patients, 5.4 per cent needed mechanical ventilator support, while among unvaccinated/partially vaccinated patients, 11.2 per cent needed ventilator support.
“During the third wave, there were more young people who had been admitted, with the average age being 44 years, compared to 55 years earlier. All symptoms were also in lesser proportions. During earlier waves, about 16 per cent patients had sore throat, while during the current wave about 29 per cent had sore throat. There was also significantly less use of drugs and significantly improved outcomes,” said Dr Balram Bhargava, DG, Indian Council of Medical Research.
The Covid patients were analysed in two batches — those admitted between 15 November and 15 December 2021 in these 37 hospitals, and those admitted between 16 December and 17 January 2022.
The analysis was presented at a health ministry press briefing in the capital Thursday.
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Better to delay planned surgeries
Referring to two studies that looked at surgical outcomes in patients who had recovered from Covid-19, joint secretary, health ministry, Lav Agarwal, said that symptomatic Covid patients should ideally delay elective surgeries.
He quoted a study that looked at 1,40,000 patients in 1,674 hospitals across 116 countries that found that if a Covid recovered patient had surgery within seven weeks of the infection, there was a significantly higher risk of adverse outcomes for all kinds of surgeries.
However, Agarwal also quoted data from AIIMS to show that in the current wave things are slightly different. “The present data indicates that unlike the evidence during the earlier surges, with the current variant surgery is safe and not associated with higher chances of complications or deaths in Covid-19 positive patients. Therefore, presently, patients who need surgery were not denied surgical intervention,” he said.
96% first dose coverage
While Agarwal did not reply to a question about whether the third wave has already peaked in India, he said that the vaccination drive has been progressing well.
Currently, 96 per cent of eligible Indians have got one dose of the vaccine and 76 per cent have got two doses, and 1.35 crore precaution doses have been administered.
The first dose coverage among 15- to 18-year-olds currently stands at 65 per cent, and 21.63 lakh people in the age group have also got the second dose of the vaccine.
Agarwal added that the data shows a clear correlation between a decline in the case fatality rate and the increase in vaccination.
On extending the precaution dose drive to other age groups, NITI Aayog member Dr V.K. Paul said that it was “under consideration”.
Currently, Kerala accounts for about a quarter of all active Covid cases in the country, followed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra, each of which account for a little over 11 per cent of active cases.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)
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