The post-vaccination breakthrough infection rate in India for COVID-19 is not more than 0.04 percent, as per the data shared by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on April 21.
The contraction of virus after being inoculated with a single or both doses of the vaccine is referred to as post-vaccination breakthrough infection, ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava explained. "The numbers are very small in India," he said at the Union health ministry's press briefing.
Out of around 1.1 crore beneficiaries administered with Covaxin - the vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech - 4,208 (0.04 percent) were found infected after the first dose and 695 (0.04 percent) tested positive after receiving the second dose.
Among 11.6 crore recipients of Covishield - the vaccine manufactured by Pune's Serum Institute of India (SII) - 17,145 (0.02 percent) tested positive after receiving the first dose and 5,014 (0.03 percent) were detected with the coronavirus infection after the second dose.
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Only "two to four per 10,000 post vaccination breakthrough infection" were recorded in India, Bhargava added. Those who were tested positive after receiving the doses were mostly frontline workers and healthcare workers - the first to be vaccinated - "who are prone to more occupational exposure", he further said.
The data shared by the ICMR is expected to address the hesitancy shown by a section of eligible beneficiaries against the COVID-19 vaccines. The central and state governments have appealed to the beneficiaries, particularly those who are vulnerable due to their age or co-morbidities, to receive the jabs at the earliest.
Across India, the overall vaccination coverage crossed 13 crore on April 21. The demand for vaccine is expected to shoot up from May 1, as all adults would be eligible to receive the doses. The current phase of inoculation drive barred those below the age of 45 - unless they were categorised as healthcare or frontline workers.
According to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, the government's prioritised approach in the immunisation drive has yielded success as around 87 percent of health workers and 79 percent of frontline workers have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines. The two groups are considered to be at the maximum risk of contracting the infection.