Coronavirus: Experts warn against slow vaccinations as Delta variant spreads
India on Sunday reported over 1.14 lakh fresh COVID-19 cases, marking the lowest single-day spike in 60 days. The daily test positivity rate has also declined to 5.62%. The pace of the outbreak in India is slowing down, however, worries about the efficacy of vaccines against the new Delta variant remain. India has fully vaccinated a little over 3% of its 1.36 billion population.
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Sunday morning, India reported a total of 2,88,09,339 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 3,46,759. So far, 2,69,84,781 patients have recovered, while 14,77,799 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 1,14,460 new infections, 1,89,232 more discharges, and 2,677 fresh fatalities. 23,13,22,417 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
Maharashtra reported 13,659 new COVID-19 cases along with 21,776 more recoveries. Karnataka, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 13,800 new cases and 25,346 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Kerala added 17,328 new cases and 24,003 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 21,410 new cases and 32,472 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 10,373 new cases and 15,958 recoveries.
This week, the Centre announced that India has administered at least one vaccine dose to more people compared to the United States. India has administered at least one dose to 18.32 crore people (13.4%) and just under 4.5 crore (3.3%) have been fully vaccinated. More than 50% of the US population has received at least one dose, while 13.7 crore people are fully vaccinated.
A recent study conducted by the INSACOG had said that prior infections and partial vaccinations were insufficient against the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 (B.1.617.2), which had first originated in India. Another study, published in The Lancet, stated that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is significantly less effective against the Delta variant, especially in cases involving partial vaccinations are larger gaps between the two doses.
The study said that after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, 78% of people had a quantifiable neutralizing antibody response against the original strain. The efficacy slipped to 50% for the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), 32% for the Delta variant, and 25% for the Beta variant (B.1.351). Experts now call for faster delivery of second vaccine doses to ensure full vaccinations.