With the National Institute of Virology confirming 11 more cases of Omicron in Tamil Nadu, thus taking the total number to 45, State Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Wednesday said there was no need to panic as all the cases detected so far are asymptomatic.
Moreover, they all had availed two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, he said.
Asserting that the present situation is not alarming, the Minister said the emphasis should be more on COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and people should come forward to get vaccinated to shield themselves from Coronavirus and its variants.
“Tamil Nadu has detected 129 persons with S-gene drop and their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology. On Tuesday the institute confirmed 11 cases (in addition to 34 cases) and including 5 old cases, totally 16 persons are undergoing treatment now,” he said after inspecting the metro’s first COVID-19 containment zone in Ashok Nagar here along with principal secretary, health and family welfare department Dr J Radhakrishnan, Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi and other officials.
About 29 persons out of 34 who tested for Omicron have been treated and discharged.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
Pointing out that England and world over several countries were shifting the treatment protocols asking the asymptomatic persons to undergo treatment at home, the Minister said the state too apart from following the guidelines would closely monitor the cases.
“Even comedian Vadivelu and director Siraj and all those who tested for Omicron are asymptomatic. Inoculation against COVID-19 would help to protect the people,” Subramanian said and added that plans are on to ensure cent percent vaccine coverage of the beneficiaries.
Already 86 percent of the population have received the first dose of COVID vaccine while the second dose has been administered to 58 percent. For its part the GCC has initiated steps to make sure the entire eligible population is covered, including vaccinating those above 60 years, he said.
Chief Minister M K Stalin will launch the vaccination drive for the 15 to 17 years age group at a camp in Porur on January 3 and it will be simultaneously initiated in all the schools across the State, Subramanian informed.
As to the containment zone in Ashok Nagar, Radhakrishnan said it was the first in the city after the lockdown curbs were lifted.
“A cluster of 10 people infected with coronavirus was detected two to three days ago and the area has been cordoned off,” he said.With the rising Omicron cases in mind, the government has established COVID-19 Care Centres at three places in the city with a total bed strength of 500. Preparations are on to revive the CCC at the Chennai Trade Centre and also to ramp up the RT-PCR testing to 25,000 tests per day, from the present 23,000 tests, in Chennai, the Minister said.