More than a year and a half after the Coronavirus pandemic wrecked our collective lives, our society has been grappling with fear and insecurity. As a result, we have seen misinformation spread like wildfire, and many resorting to bizarre and incorrect methods of dealing with the virus. With this column, which will be published every Sunday, we aim to address any health or vaccine-related question our readers might have about the coronavirus pandemic.
In this week’s column, the questions have been answered by Dr Rahul Pandit, who is the Director of Intensive Care, Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai. Dr Pandit is also a member of the National Task Force appointed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and a part of the Maharashtra government’s Covid task force. In this column, Dr Pandit has answered questions regarding the third wave, and precautions necessary prior to and during Diwali.
What precautions are being taken to ensure a safe Diwali from the Covid standpoint?
Please ensure that you celebrate Diwali with your immediate family and friends only. Only double vaccinated and masked individuals to come together. For this year, avoid crowding and go out to places where crowding is likely to happen.
Has Delta plus been found in India yet? How dangerous is the subvariant?
Delta remains the predominant variant. Media reports also claim that 7 new cases of Delta plus has been found in India. There has not been any significant clinical difference between delta and delta plus, so although researchers are keeping an eye on this new subvariant, it has not yet been found to be a threat.
Despite reaching 100 crore vaccination, what are some of the challenges that the administration is still facing in motivating people to get vaccinated?
Many people have not taken their second dose despite having completed the 12 weeks. There is still some vaccine hesitancy and most importantly people believe that they have had covid and don’t need vaccination, or COVID 19 is over and hence vaccine is not necessary.
Will there be a third wave? Have we staved it off, or will it happen in the same manner as the second and the first wave happened?
A large third wave is only likely if we have a new variant, and even if it occurs, it is unlikely that our hospitals will be overstretched like they were during the first and the second wave.
When will Covid vaccines for children be available in India?
The subject expert group has given an emergency use authorisation, now the DCGI needs to approve it and NTAGI needs to roll it out. It will follow due process. But will be available shortly.
Has the rural population been vaccinated as the urban population? What are some of the challenges faced in vaccinating rural populations?
Vaccine hesitancy, lack of communication, availability of the vaccine near their home are some of the challenges which need to be addressed as far as the rural population is concerned.