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COVID-19 severity decreasing in Kerala, says Health Minister Veena George

The number of patients seeking treatment at hospitals and those needing ICU support has dwindled, she said during the Question Hour session in the Assembly.

August 04, 2021 / 12:36 PM IST
(Image: AFP)

(Image: AFP)

Despite a high number of daily positive cases, Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Wednesday said the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic was decreasing in the state.

The number of patients seeking treatment at hospitals and those needing ICU support has dwindled, she said during the Question Hour session in the Assembly.

"The hospital occupancy and ICU occupancy have decreased in the state now-a--days. That means, the severity of the disease is decreasing," George pointed out.

The Health Minister also said the department is now assessing the impact of "break-through infection" and "reinfection" among people.

"We are examining whether people are experiencing vaccine breakthrough infection ( a COVID case that occurs in someone who is fully vaccinated) and reinfection ( a person, who was infected and recovered, is infected again)," she said.


COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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As per a recent survey conducted by the Health Department, the reinfection rate has decreased remarkably. However, vaccine breakthrough infection is happening in the state, she said, quoting the survey. Rejecting opposition criticism, George told the House that if a person died of COVID-19, it would be recorded as such.

The instances of people, who died of the virus infection but excluded from the list of COVID deaths somehow, would be examined, she said, adding that no comparison had been made so far between the pandemic death figures of the Health and Local Self Government Departments.

The southern state, on Tuesday, reported 23,676 fresh COVID cases pushing the total infection caseload to 34,49,149, with the number of people succumbing to the virus rising to 17,103 after 148 more deaths.

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