For the first time, the government has come out with data on infections after vaccination. The Union Health Ministry said today that it had data on Covid infections after vaccination but these were in “very small numbers”.
“Two to four 10,000 breakthrough infections of COVID-19 have happened after people received the vaccine. This is a very, very low number, nothing to panic about,” said Balram Bhargava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Only 0.04 per cent of those who received the first dose of Bharat Biotech’s made-in-India Covaxin contracted Covid.
Of the 93,56,436 who have received the first dose of Covaxin, 4,208 have tested Covid positive.
A similar percentage was infected after their second dose of Covaxin. Out of 17,37,178 who received both doses, only 695 tested positive.
For Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, the vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, the numbers are even lower.
About 0.02 percent of those who received the first dose of Covishield tested positive for Covid.
So out of 10,03,02,745 recipients of one Covishield dose, 17,145 have tested positive.
Some 0.03 per cent turned up positive after the second dose. In numbers, that is 5,014 out of 1,57,32,754 recipients of both doses of Covishield.
The government said these numbers prove vaccines are safe and more and more people should get their shots to fight effectively against Covid.
Mr Bhargava said even these numbers include health care workers who received the vaccine but are exposed to far more patients than the others.
Experts say the first dose of vaccine may not prevent Covid but it can certainly protect against severe infection or death.
Typically, it takes two weeks after both doses for the body to build immunity against the virus, according to scientists.