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ICMR’s 3rd serological survey: Need to rethink on vaccination strategy

Synopsis:  The recent findings of ICMR’s 3rd serological survey can be used to revalidate the vaccination policy of India.

Background

  • The ICMR’s third serological survey findings were published at a press conference recently.
  • However, the specific details of the course of the infection are not released. It will be made public later, in a peer-reviewed journal.

What is Serological Survey?A serological survey is conducted to assess the prevalence of a disease in a population. It is done by detecting the presence of specific antibodies that are produced against the virus.

What are the latest findings of ICMR’s 3rd serological survey?

  • The findings show that nearly one out of five Indians (270 million) may have been infected.
  • The report finds a three-fold rise in infections compared to August.
  • Also, people who got infected in the age group of 10-17 years has increased 5 times (in percentage terms) compared to August.
  • The serological survey of doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff reveals that nearly 25% of them had been infected. This is significantly above the national average.
  • The survey findings cautioned that “Still, 80% of Indians are vulnerable”.
  • But there is no information on the efficacy of antibodies against mutating virus strains.

What can be inferred from this result?

  • Despite, the Experts pointing towards the declining trend in infections and increasing herd immunity among the population. We need to accept that the danger is still there.
  • The survey highlights the need for vaccination and continuing with physical distancing and masking norms.
  • There is also a rise in the spread of infection among teenagers and children. Rural India also facing an increase in infections. So the vaccine policy needs a course correction.
  • So, it would be wise to rethink the vaccination policy to prioritize vaccination for children along with old age people, frontline workers, and peoples with morbidity.
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