Covid-19 vaccines prevented more than 90,000 deaths during the third wave, December 28, 2021 to January 31, 2022, according to a research report by the SBI.
About 14,756 Covid-19 deaths have occurred in India during the third wave and the model projected about 93,000 deaths would have occurred without the vaccines.
To understand the importance of vaccines, the report tested a two stage least square (2-SLS) panel model with 20-major states considering the daily data during the third wave, i.e, from December 28, 2021 to January 31, 2022.
In this 2SLS regression, it first regressed the state-wise test data on population to gauge the number of tests that should have been done given the population difference.
Although all vaccines are safe and effective if used correctly, no vaccine is completely risk-free and adverse events will occasionally result after an immunization. An adverse event following immunization (AEFI) is any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunization, and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine. The adverse event may be any unfavourable or unintended sign, abnormal laboratory finding, symptom or disease.
The very low AEFI rate of 0.005 per cent for Covid-19 vaccine in India is an achievement and an indication of effectiveness of India-made vaccines. In India as of November 2021, 49,819 adverse events (or side-effects) were reported of which 47,691 were minor, 163 severe and 1,965 were serious side-effects. In January 2022 India recorded 3,899 AEFI cases. In US, as against India, a total 9.5 lakh adverse events were reported post Covid-19 immunization according to VAERS database.
Top five side-effects in the order of fever, joint pain, dizziness, fatigue and headache accounted for 1.7 lakh (or 18 per cent) adverse events. The AEFI rate for US is around 0.18 per cent.
The report said with the government’s efforts, India has achieved the highest vaccination of 2.26 crore in a day (September 17, 2021) and cumulatively vaccinated more than 166 crore of eligible adults, 70 per cent fully (both the doses) and around 92 per cent with single dose.
Compared to the developed countries, India has vaccinated highest number of people in a year.
Further, the government has extended the vaccination to the age group of 15-18 years starting January 3, 2022, with more than 50 per cent of eligible population in this age group having received their first dose of the vaccine.
(Sanjeev Sharma can be reached at email@example.com)