Lowering the age
The lowering of age limit to get the mandatory Covid-19 vaccine to 45 years is a aelcome step. This move will surely help the government expand the inoculation drive amid a surge in new cases with the doubling time having sharply reduced since the start of this month.
The decision to lower the age limit had to be taken as the Union Health Ministry highlighting that six states have reported a surge in daily new cases and accounted for nearly 81 per cent of the new infections in the country.
Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu collectively accounted for the maximum number of cases and it continued even on Wednesday.
Covid-19 has proved to be a threat that failed to subside the world over. Countries which were expecting a sharp decline in cases are witnessing a surge in cases besides new variants of the virus affecting the population.
In India a new double mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in addition to the several variants of concern that have already been found in at least 18 states. Some of these variants had earlier been detected abroad.
Though the detection and presence of other variants cannot be accepted as the sole reason behind the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in some states however, it could one of the possible reasons.
Surprisingly, genome sequencing by Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) has identified variants of concerns (VOCs) in several states and a new double mutant variant. Genomic sequencing and epidemiological studies are continuing to further analyse the situation.
The Ministry of Health had established on December 25 INSACOG which is a grouping of 10 national laboratories for carrying out genomic sequencing and analysis of circulating COVID-19 viruses, and correlating epidemiological trends with genomic variants.
Genomic variants of various viruses are a natural phenomenon and are found in almost all countries. The detection of new variants has definitely proven to be a threat but it needs to be dealt with and massive vaccination can be the answer.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated while frontline workers began getting the shots from February 2.
The next phase of the world’s largest vaccination drive commenced on March 1 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
The lowering of age to 45 years for getting a jab will help millions to get the much needed dose as the covid threat seems to be getting worse.
Since the measures to control the pandemic, like lockdowns are proving to be more troublesome the only option that remains is vaccination. The inoculation will help in securing more people from falling to the virus and may in the long run help in developing herd immunity as well.