This Kerala district on Central radar after 5,000 fully vaccinated get COVID

A preliminary analysis indicates COVID variants, especially Delta, overcame vaccine-induced immunity; Central team seeks more samples for genome sequencing from other districts

Cases in Kerala continue to spike

A six-member Central team that visited Kerala recently has reported that the COVID pandemic infected over 7,000 vaccinated people in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district. Initial assessment shows that breakthrough cases* were recorded among those who received one or both doses of Covaxin as well as Covishield, The Economic Times said.

When people get infected after vaccination, experts call these cases “breakthrough” infections because the virus broke the cover vaccines provide.

The Central team analyzed the steps taken by authorities to contain the virus infection and reviewed the functioning of hospitals and the status of vaccination in the district, besides inspecting a first-line treatment centre in Pathanamthitta. Later, they held discussions with District Collector Divya S Iyer and took stock of the containment measures adopted so far in the district.

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The Collector said that as many as 86.3% of the total eligible persons in the district had received the first dose of vaccine, while 51% received two doses.

The team has submitted a special report on the Pathanamthitta district and sought details from the state on samples for genome sequencing from other districts too in an effort to determine the reason behind the unusually high recorded cases of breakthrough infections.

While research and anecdotal evidence during the second wave have indicated there have been breakthrough infections and variants, especially Delta, that overcame vaccine-induced immunity, the data of such a high figure raises serious alarm,

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Collector Iyer confirmed to ET that at least “5,042 people turned positive after two doses of vaccines of which 258 turned positive after completing two weeks after two doses”.

As many as 14,974 people turned positive after the first dose alone. Of these, 4490 turned positive after two weeks, she added. “We need more details to assess if this is a case of vaccine failure or whether there is any other element at work. So, we have sought details from all districts on the first dose and second dose breakthrough cases from the state government to get a more holistic picture of the situation. It has been flagged to the Centre,” a central team member told ET.

Breakthrough cases were found in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram too. The team, chaired by National Centre for Disease Control director Sujeet Singh, was sent to Kerala as the state continued to record over 10,000 daily new infections for several weeks after the second wave officially abated in almost the rest of the country.