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Last Updated : Sep 27, 2020 06:53 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

India far from achieving herd immunity; ICMR investigating cases of reinfection: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Harsh Vardhan cautioned that the sero-survey report should not create a sense of complacency among the people. He also stressed that masks be worn even in places of worship.

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The Indian population is still "far away" from achieving herd immunity against COVID-19 and everyone should continue following "COVID-appropriate" protocols, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on September 27.

"Indian population is still far from achieving herd immunity against COVID-19 as shown by ICMR’s second sero-survey. Hence, all of us should continue following COVID appropriate behaviour," Vardhan said.

The health minister's statement comes on a day when the World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a statement that herd immunity against coronavirus is "not an option".

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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.

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Vardhan, who was interacting with his social media followers, also said that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is also "investigating and researching" reports of COVID-19 reinfections across the country. While the number of reinfection cases are "negligible", the government is "fully seized of the importance of the matter", the Health Minister said.

Vardhan cautioned that the sero-survey report should not create a sense of complacency among the people. He also stressed that masks be worn even in places of worship.

The first sero-survey of May 2020 had revealed that the nationwide prevalence of the novel coronavirus infection was only 0.73 percent.

The health minister also dispelled fears regarding the phased opening of schools, and reiterated proper protocol to be followed while visiting salons and hair spas.

On the wide usage of investigational therapies such as plasma therapy and Remdesivir drug for combating COVID-19, Vardhan said the government has issued regular advisories regarding their rational usage and private hospitals have also been advised against routine use of these therapies.

(With inputs from PTI)

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First Published on Sep 27, 2020 06:53 pm
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