By: Sanjeev Sharma
New Delhi: The susceptibility to Covid infections appears to be particularly high immediately after vaccination either due to lower immunity or due to unsafe behaviour.
Lancet Covid-19 Commission India Task Force made this observation in its report and recommended an advocacy campaign on the need to remain vigilant to help mitigate the risk.
Several cases of infections have been reported after taking Covid vaccinations across the country. The observation may explain some of that.
The task force emphasised the need to wear masks and practise safe behaviour even after receiving the vaccination. “The susceptibility to infections appears to be particularly high immediately after vaccination (either due to lower immunity or due to unsafe behaviour), and an advocacy campaign on the need to remain vigilant will help mitigate this risk”, it said.
Other elements of safe behaviours (physical distancing, hand washing) need continual emphasizing as well, it added.
A renewed focus on implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) is essential if the current surge is to be brought under control. We recognize that ‘pandemic fatigue’ has set in. A renewed intensive effort is needed to ramp up individual and community actions to limit the spread of COVID-19″, the report said.
Given the relative return to normal economic and social activity one year on, the report said it is time to relaunch a massive public advocacy campaign on mask wearing, this time shifting the message on to the importance of wearing masks in closed spaces outside one’s own home, along with in the open, as currently advised.
This would cover public transportation, office and work spaces, shops, religious sites, and visits to friends and family. A high profile campaign will focus attention on the benefits of masks indoors and outdoors in preventing air borne infections, the value of double masking in high risk settings such as hospitals or close, confined spaces, the importance of air ventilation.
Surges in COVID-19 cases worldwide are attributed to “super spreader events” or a few events of large congregations that fuel a spread in infections. Several such potential events are scheduled in parts of India for the months of April and May. These include religious events, political events (state elections), and social gatherings (resurgence of weddings, sporting events). “We strongly recommend a temporary ban on gatherings of groups larger than 10 for the next two months”, the task force said. (IANS)