The Covishield vaccine dramatically reduces fresh infections, claimed Indian Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) in a study which stated that after vaccination, there is 93 per cent reduction in fresh infection, while deaths are reduced by 98 per cent.
The Ministry of Defence stated that AFMS published the study on vaccine effectiveness among healthcare and frontline workers of Indian armed forces in the Medical Journal Armed Forces India (MJAFI), a peer-reviewed scientific journal, on Tuesday.
The study highlights the impact of protection against Covid-19 by Covishield vaccine by analysing its effect on fresh infections and deaths.
According to the study, there is a 93 per cent reduction in fresh infections and deaths are reduced by 98 per cent.
Vice Admiral Rajat Datta, the Director General of AFMS and a well-known cardiologist and co-author of the study, said that a total of 1.59 million healthcare workers and frontline workers of the armed forces were among the first recipients after India launched its vaccination drive against Covid-19 on January 16, 2021.
The study was largely conducted on healthy males with few co-morbid illnesses. It did not include children and the elderly.
The AFMS DG stated that the VIN-WIN cohort study was carried out on anonymised data from the existing armed forces health surveillance system, which had been enhanced for monitoring Covid-19.
The surveillance system had data for daily vaccination with first and second dose, dates of testing positive for Covid-19 and Covid related deaths, which were analysed.
Despite constraints of terrain and location, the armed forces had managed to vaccinate over 82 per cent of the target population as early as on May 30, 2021.
The study was possible due to the cooperation by various components of the AFMS. The Armed Forces Medical College, and the medical directorates of Army, Navy and Air Force collaborated with the AFMS DG to complete the study.
Corresponding author of the study, consultant medicine and clinical immunologist, Air Commodore Shankar Subramanian, said the biggest challenge was in dealing with the huge numbers while remaining statistically accurate.
As the population moved from unvaccinated to partially vaccinated and then fully vaccinated, the numbers in each group changed on a daily basis. Though the armed forces have an exceptional record-keeping system, collating and analysing the data was a huge task which involved constant and intense coordination, he added.
The study occurred when the nation was witnessing the second wave of the pandemic. Despite that, the fully vaccinated group, which had gone up to 82 per cent of 1.59 million, showed seven deaths only.
It is gratifying that the combined hard work of so many people has yielded a result which gives everyone so much hope, Subramanian stated.