3rd Nationwide Sero Survey Shows Large Proportion of India Still Vulnerable to Covid-19: ICMR

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Over 21 per cent of the population, aged 10 years and above, showed evidence of past exposure to COVID-19 in the ICMR’s latest national serosurvey, the government said on Thursday, noting that a large proportion of people are still vulnerable to the infection.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) third national serosurvey was conducted between December 7 last year and January 8. Presenting the findings of the survey, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said 21.4 per cent of the 28,589 people, aged 18 years and above, surveyed during the period showed evidence of past exposure to the coronavirus infection. While 25.3 per cent of children aged 10 to 17 years from the same number of surveyed population have had the disease, he said.

Urban slums (31.7 per cent) and urban non-slums (26.2 per cent) had a higher SARS-CoV-2 prevalence than that in rural areas (19.1 per cent), Bhargava said, adding that 23.4 per cent of individuals above 60 years of age had suffered from COVID-19.

Blood samples of 7,171 healthcare workers were also collected during the same period and the seroprevalence was found to be 25.7 per cent, the ICMR director general said. The survey was conducted in the same 700 villages or wards in 70 districts in 21 states selected during the first and second rounds of the national serosurvey.

NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul said healthcare workers will receive the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine starting February 13. The first phase of the nationwide vaccination drive against Covid-19 had begun on January 16. Healthcare workers have only been given the first dose, so far, Paul said.

Talking about side effects reported across the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said there was a “very structured and robust system of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) monitoring in the country.”

“It has been further strengthened in view of Covid-19 vaccination. We have 8,563 AEFI so far when we have done vaccination in lakhs. This is 0.18% of vaccinated people,” Bhushan said.

ALSO READ | Healthcare Workers to be Given Second Dose of Covid-19 Vaccine from February 13, Says Govt

The Health Ministry said on Thursday that 4.5 million beneficiaries have received coronavirus vaccine shots in 19 days. India became the fastest country in the world to reach the 4 million Covid-19 vaccination mark, achieving this feat in 18 days, it said.

“Many other countries have had a head start of almost 65 days. India launched the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16. The number of beneficiaries being vaccinated every day has also shown a progressive increase,” the ministry said.

In a span of 24 hours, 3,10,604 people were vaccinated across 8,041 sessions, it said, adding that 84,617 sessions have been conducted so far.

India’s COVID-19 active caseload has dropped to 1.55 lakh (1,55,025) and comprises just 1.44 per cent of the total infections. The day-on-day change in the number of active cases over the last few weeks depicts the consistent decline in active cases.

India’s Daily Positivity Rate is1.82 per cent, as of today, it said. “India has maintained the daily positivity rate below 2 per cent in last few weeks (19 days),” the ministry said. The total recoveries have surged to 1,04,80,455.

“The difference in new recoveries outnumbering new cases has also improved the recovery rate to 97.13 per cent. The total recovered cases are 67.6 times the active cases,” the ministry highlighted.

It said 86.04 per cent of the new recovered cases are observed to be concentrated in six states and union territories. At 7,030, Maharashtra has reported the maximum number of single day recoveries while 6,380 people recovered in Kerala in a span of 24 hours followed by 533 in Tamil Nadu.

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