NEW DELHI: Citing first studies from India from healthcare workers, top officials on Friday underlined that Covid vaccines offer substantial risk reduction against hospitalisation, ICU care, and the need for oxygen.
The studies have come out from two prestigious healthcare institutions, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, and Christian Medical College, Vellore.
In a press briefing by the Union Health Ministry on Covid status on Friday, VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, who heads the national task force on Covid, said that vaccination offered a 75-80% risk reduction against hospitalisation from infection in vaccinated individuals, as compared to those unvaccinated.
“The possibility of such individuals (vaccinated) needing oxygen support is around 8% and the risk of ICU admission is only 6% in vaccinated persons,” he said.
“Healthcare workers are very high-risk groups. They live and work where they’re exposed to high viral loads in ICU and in coronavirus wards,” said Paul
“Studies show that if vaccination is done, then the need for hospitalisation decreases by 75 to 80%. Even if the infection takes place, the hospitalisation chance falls to 20 to 25%.”
He added, without naming the CMC study but citing its findings that oxygen demand is only 8% in vaccinated individuals as compared to those who have not received the vaccines.
“The data also shows that in terms of ICU admissions, the risk is only 6%.. Protection is 94%..This is powerful data from reasonable sized studies. The risk of serious disease is low. One study observed one death among 7,000 but it involved comorbidities,” said the top official.
The CMC study, released on a preprint server for medical sciences last week, had said that one dose of Covid vaccine offered 61% protective effect against infection, while two doses offered 65%.
Significantly, one dose reduced the risk of hospitalisation by 70% and two doses by 77%.
Among the staff members who received vaccines, no deaths were reported and only one staff member of the medical institution has died but he had had several comorbidities and did not receive the vaccine, the paper said.
The study from PGI, Chandigarh on the other hand showed that while there were 1.6% instances of breakthrough infections in vaccinated healthcare workers, vaccines offered significant protection against hospitalisation and death.