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Need to revise Covid vaccination strategy in India, states IJPM

By Dinkle Popli -- October 17th 2022 03:32 PM

New Delhi, October 17: The latest peer-reviewed journal based on published studies in the Indian Journal of Preventive Medicine (IJPM) suggests that a revised Covid-19 vaccine policy is the need of the hour to safeguard the science.

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"Covid-19 is two years old, and sufficient evidence exists about the superiority of protection offered by the natural infection over vaccination. A revised COVID-19 vaccine policy is the need of the hour to safeguard the science," reads the journal. The medical journal also mentioned that the current Covid-19 vaccines are not very effective in the prevention of infection from SARS CoV, "All the vaccine efficacy and effectiveness studies have shown that the vaccine significantly reduces the severity of illness and deaths from COVID-19 in susceptible populations. However, current available COVID-19 vaccines are not very effective against prevention of infection from SARS," it read.

"The breakthrough infections after vaccination are being reported from all parts of the world, including India. Global evidence has demonstrated that natural infection provides better and longer protection against COVID-19. In fact, recent evidence suggests that natural infection may provide lifelong immunity. Currently, we don't have sufficient evidence to infer that vaccination provides better immunity than natural infection. The vaccine may evoke a higher specific IgG level than the natural infection, but that doesn't necessarily mean that an individual is better protected," it was further explained in the journal.

The journal has also said that the waning of IgG levels doesn't mean that there is a corresponding decline in immune protection provided that cellular immunity is intact.

"The vaccine does significantly reduce the severity of the disease and consequent mortality compared to the unvaccinated susceptible group. This is the biggest advantage of vaccination. But, if one were to compare the naturally infected group with the vaccinated group; the naturally infected group has better immune protection (longer duration, and lower reinfection rate) than the vaccinated group. Data from Israel suggest that the fully vaccinated group was six times more likely to get SARS CoV," states the medical journal.

Public Health England released the data of 4 million infected individuals, "reinfection rate among naturally infected individuals was very low compared to the breakthrough infection rate among the vaccinated group, only 53 had confirmed reinfection out of 4 million infected people by June 2021. Most of the breakthrough infections occurred within 2 to 3 months of receiving the second dose of the vaccine. However, among the naturally infected individuals, the rare reinfection occurred approximately one year after the original infection," it said.

The journal has also mentioned that the vaccines should only be given to those who have never tested positive for Covid-19 in past, other than that these vaccines may harm due to a few known and unknown severe adverse events, "India needs to reexamine its COVID19 vaccination policy. Vaccines should be prescribed to only those who have never tested positive for COVID-19 in the past.

"These individuals are at a higher risk of infection and severe disease conditions. Individuals with documented COVID-19 infection in the past may be vaccinated after generating evidence that the vaccine is beneficial even after natural infection. Based on the available evidence, we can say that there is no additional benefit of vaccination for COVID recovered individuals. Actually, it may cause harm due to few known and unknown severe adverse events following immunization," mentioned in the journal.

"In India, all individuals older than 12 years are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. To increase vaccine uptake, a new strategy has been introduced called 'Har Ghar Dastak'. The main goal is to ensure that everyone is vaccinated. To many, this policy may appear to be a form of mild coercion. Considering the latest available evidence, this policy seems misplaced and needs reexamination, rather than blindly copying whatever is being advocated elsewhere. This virus is now more than two years old, and we have generated sufficient evidence to support the superiority of protection offered by the natural infection over vaccination," the journal further advised on re-examining the policy.

The corresponding author of the medical journal is Dr Sanjay K. Rai, National President, Indian Public Health Association, and Professor of Community Medicine, at AIIMS, New Delhi.

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-PTC News

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