APOLLO HOSPITALS’ STUDY ON BREAK THROUGH INFECTIONS (BTIs) STRENGTHENS CASE FOR COVID VACCINATION
Study shows that 97.38% of those vaccinated were protected from an infection and hospitalization rate was only 0.06% with mainly minor infections that do not lead to severe disease or hospitalization Hospital urges
Study shows that 97.38% of those vaccinated were protected from an infection and hospitalization rate was only 0.06% with mainly minor infections that do not lead to severe disease or hospitalization
Hospital urges citizens to resist vaccine hesitancy to tide over the pandemic
Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi today released the results of an observational study of healthcare workers to evaluate the frequency of Break Through Infection (BTI) of COVID-19. BTI refers to people who are fully vaccinated who still get infected with COVID-19. The observational study was carried out on healthcare workers who reported to Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi with symptomatic COVID-19, during the first 100 days of the vaccination drive using the Covishield vaccine. The findings of the study are under consideration for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Dr. Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals Group and Sr. Consultant, Pediatric Gastroentereology said, “India has witnessed a huge increase in cases in the second wave of COVID-19 recently, amidst the vaccination drive that is in progress. There have been reports of infections after the vaccination, which are also known as the ‘Break Through Infections’. These infections may occur after partial and full vaccination, in some individuals. Studies indicate that while COVID-19 vaccination does not provide 100% immunity even after full immunization it protects against serious manifestations. Our study demonstrates that 97.38% of those vaccinated were protected from an infection and hospitalization rate was only 0.06%. The results of the study show that BTI occurs only in a small percentage and these are primarily minor infections that do not lead to severe disease. There were no ICU admissions or death. Our study makes the case for vaccination stronger.”
The study covered 3235 healthcare workers (HCWs). A total of 85 of the 3235 HCWs acquired the SARS-COV-2 infection during the study period. Out of these, 65 (2.62%) were fully vaccinated, and 20 (2.65%) were partially vaccinated. Females were significantly more affected and the age did not influence the incidence of infection.
Dr. Raju Vaishya, Sr. Consultant Orthopedics and one of the key authors of the study added, “There are several factors that may be responsible for the BTI. These include factors related to the vaccine and human behavior. COVID vaccines take time to develop adequate immunity in the human body with current studies indicating immunity takes two weeks to properly develop after the second vaccine dose. Hence, if due precautions and preventive measures are not taken by the vaccinated person during this time, the BTI may occur. Here is where the factor of human behavior comes in. In many people, a sense of security creeps in after the vaccination, partial or full, leading to avoidance of Covid appropriate behaviour like not using face masks, social distancing, and hand sanitation etc. This increases the risk of re-infections and BTI. Even after vaccination, it is essential to continue to take precautions to avoid any chance of exposure to the novel coronavirus.”
The study emphasizes the fact that COVID-19 vaccines are effective with vaccine breakthrough occurring only in a small percentage of vaccinated persons. All eligible persons should get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available to them. It is important to continue with COVID safe behavior even when fully vaccinated such as wearing a mask, sanitizing hands, maintaining appropriate social distance, and avoiding crowds.