92% of fully vaccinated healthcare workers showed mild infection: Study

Around 16,000 fully vaccinated healthcare workers participated in the study who received both the first and second dose of the vaccine between January and May this year.

According to the evidence-based study released by Fortis Healthcare, 92 per cent of fully vaccinated healthcare workers, including those who contracted infection post-vaccination, showed only mild COVID related symptoms. This comes even as the country is reeling under the second wave of coronavirus.

The study has been released to understand the severity of Covid-19 infection post-vaccination and address the vaccine hesitancy among people and debunk myths around it.

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Around 16,000 fully vaccinated healthcare workers participated in the study who received both the first and second dose of the vaccine between January and May this year. Out of these, only 1 per cent of the healthcare worker developed severe COVID-related illness needing ICU/ ventilator support.

The overall findings of the study show that the vaccines available in India for Covid-19 are safe, effective and offer protection against other deadly viruses including the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Below are the key highlights of the study:

Only 6% of staff got infected after receiving both COVID doses

At least 92 per cent of fully vaccinated healthcare workers who received both the first and the second dose of vaccine did not show severe symptoms needing ICU support. After receiving both doses for COVID-19, only six per cent of the staff were found to be infected by COVID-19.

7 % of staff developed moderate illness post-vaccination

As per the findings, amongst those who got infected after getting fully vaccinated, 92 per cent of staff were mildly infected and seven per cent developed moderate illness requiring oxygen support. Only one per cent of the staff developed severe COVID symptoms requiring ICU care and ventilation support.

Single dose of a vaccine can reduce household transmission by up to 50%

The study also reveals that vaccines may also be associated with reduced likelihood of household transmission, thereby, preventing the spread of the infection to others.

As per the new study by Public Health England (PHE), one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, whether Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccine reduces household transmission of the infection by up to 50 per cent.

Busting rumours, myths and vaccine hesitancy: Group Head, Fortis

Dr. Bishnu Panigrahi, Group Head, Medical Strategy and Operations Fortis Healthcare said in the statement that the study helps bringing out findings that the COVID-19 vaccines available in India provide protection against the virus even among the healthcare workers who are at the higher risk of catching deadly coronavirus infection. He further added that while India has sound vaccine manufacturing capacity, what is really required is a comprehensive and multi-dimensional mass education strategy to achieve the vaccine feat.

He added, we needed to use our research and findings in varied ways and smart data analytics to bust fake news, myths, and vaccine hesitancy among people of various age groups.

“Evidence plays an important role in spreading authentic information. The right information should be passed on to every citizen in India. We need to stop the virus from spreading further and need to protect both life and livelihoods of the citizens.”

Getting a vaccine would reduce the infection chances

The study has already revealed that being vaccinated against coronavirus significantly reduces the risk of contracting the virus.

Let’s take an example from the clinical trial itself.

In the study, 95 per cent vaccine efficacy would mean that vaccinated individuals will have 95 per cent fewer chances of getting COVID infection.

So, in case 1 per cent of the unvaccinated population developed COVID-19, getting the jab would slim the chances of getting infected by COVID-19 to 95 per cent, thereby resulting in the infection rate by 0.05 per cent.

Key takeaways from the finding

Among 12,248 total healthcare workers, 7,170 (58.5 per cent) had received COVID-19 vaccine (first dose) and 3,650 (29.8 per cent) had received the second dose as per the government’s guidelines. And, at least 5,078 healthcare workers, which sums up to 41.5 per cent were unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the vaccination drive, at least 506 healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19. And out of the 7,170 healthcare staff (those who had received the first dose of the vaccine) 184 (2.6 per cent) healthcare workers tested positive. Given the time gap between the first dose and the positive test was 44 days.

Total number of 72 out of 3,650 (2 per cent) healthcare workers tested positive after receiving the second dose; given the time gap between receiving the second dose and the positive test was 20 days.

And among those healthcare workers who received both the doses for COVID-19 and completed 14 days (at least) of follow-up after receiving the the second dose, the infection rate recorded was at 1.6 per cent (48 of 3,000 healthcare workers); given the time gap between the receipt of the second dose and the positivity test was 29.5 days.

Another study needed

According to Professor PVM Lakshmi, Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, PGI, “This study was done in the month of April when there were no mutant strains around and now with 70-75 percent of healthcare workers being inoculated already for COVID infection, another extensive study needs to conducted in order to understand the changes that had occurred in the period of this time and also to review accumulating evidence.

Medical institutes and hospitals need to conduct more such periodical studies related to vaccination and different types of COVID variants. At this moment, Punjab is studying vaccination data to understand more facts about infection and virus severity post-COVID-19 vaccination.

Professor PVM Lakshmi is one of the doctors who documented the data regarding breakthrough infections in the group of healthcare workers. The report was published in the New England Journal of Medicine this month (June, 2021).

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