Maharashtra: Vaccination cover, infrastructure key for reopening, say experts | Pune News – Times of India

PUNE: The state task force and health experts have said that steps can be taken towards easing of covid curbs as long as there are enough people fully vaccinated and districts are ready with infrastructure to deal with a possible third wave.
The public health department is currently considering proposals that allow fully vaccinated people to return to work across malls, restaurants, public transport networks and factories. Experts said such attempts will need a good mix of vaccine cover and shored up medical infrastructure.
Head of the state task force, Dr Sanjay Oak, said full vaccination will help slowly boost important sectors.

He said, “While state officials are working on preparedness and have guided district administrations as well as the regional task force on the importance of testing, tracking and close monitoring of home-isolated people, the state health department has reinforced full vaccination as an important component for de-escalation, which should be graded.”
Another task force member, Dr Rahul Pandit, said fully vaccinated people should be allowed to operate in “bio-bubbles”, with staggered timings, to give the economy the necessary’momentum.
Health experts said there’s now evidence, including data from the latest national sero-survey that suggests this could be the right time to take strong steps towards normalcy, while keeping a good grip on preparedness.
Epidemiologist Dr Sanjay Rai, a professor of community medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, said evidence from around the world has demonstrated that Covid infection provides better and longer protection. He said, “Besides, the reinfection rate is very low if we analyze breakthrough cases after vaccination. Therefore, we can safely consider that two-thirds of the population is protected as of now. So it’s the right time to move towards normalcy with close monitoring of the situation.”
Pune-based clinical epidemiologist Dr Amitav Banerjee said, “The latest national sero-survey has revealed that 67% of our population has acquired IgG antibodies. The actual population immunity level is likely to be higher by 10-15% as IgG levels wane after some time. But immunity due to priming of memory and T cells last much longer given this level of population immunity restrictions can be lifted to enable resumption of economic activity without fear of a surge in infections.”
Dr Banerjee said targeted vaccination is also important. “To be on the safer side, the elderly and people with comorbidities, who do not have IgG antibodies, can be vaccinated on priority without going for mass vaccination, which would only be a duplication of nature’s efforts at natural immunity. It will save time , resources, and efforts,” he said.
State officials said steps are being taken towards a safe reopening. Relief and rehabilitation secretary Aseem Gupta said they have forwarded proposals for various economic sectors to the health department for a final decision on rules. “We are now awaiting their decision,” he said.


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