The third wave of Covid could arise from either mutations in the virus or the available pool of susceptible populations, and it also depends on various pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions to manage the pandemic, Lok Sabha said on Friday. In a written response, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandavia said vaccination protects against severe disease and increases herd immunity and, accordingly, could mitigate the future impact of COVID-19.
The vaccines currently used for immunization provide significant protection against infection, as well as reduce the severity of illness, hospitalizations and deaths, he said.
Responding to warnings from health experts and authorities about the likelihood of a third wave of coronavirus in the form of its Delta variant, which is likely to affect children, Mandavia clarified that there is no scientific evidence in India or worldwide that children are getting sick. disproportionately heavily infected with COVID-19, including its Delta variant. He said several waves were seen around the world.
“The (third) wave could arise either because of mutations in the virus or because of the available pool of susceptible populations, which in turn also depend on various pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions to manage the pandemic,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization, the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has shown higher transmissibility than other mutant variants of concern (VOCs) identified to date.
“However, there is no scientific evidence, either in India or worldwide, to show that children are disproportionately infected with COVID-19, including the Delta variant. Children, if infected, usually remain asymptomatic or show mild symptoms and do not develop serious illness, ”Mandavia said. stated.
However, the Department of Health has issued specific guidelines and advised states to upgrade their health infrastructure for pediatric care, he said.
In terms of preparedness to tackle the intensity of the third wave, he said the ministry is tracking the trajectory of Covid according to the details provided by the states.
The public health approach and clinical management protocol for the Delta variant remain the same, he said.
According to the minister, healthcare is a state issue, the Center provides the states with the necessary technical support and supports them in strengthening their healthcare infrastructure to ensure that there are enough beds, medicines, medical oxygen and other supplies to provide adequate clinical care for COVID-19 patients.
Thanks to the concerted action of the Center and the state governments, the number of isolation and intensive care beds, which were 10,180 and 2,168 prior to the first lockdown (as of March 23, 2020), is increasing and currently stands at 18,21,845 beds and 1. According to him, as of July 20, 22,035 beds are in intensive care.
56,218 ventilators have been allocated to states, union territories and central government agencies, of which 48,446 have already been delivered as of July 19, he said.
Regarding medical oxygen supplies, he said production of liquid medical oxygen (LMOs) had been increased to 9,690 tonnes as of May 13.
The minister said this was done by increasing production in steel mills and other LMO factories.
He said a system has been implemented to monitor oxygen production in steel mills and distribution to states and UT in real time, and restrictions have been imposed on its industrial use.
He said a dynamic and transparent framework for oxygen distribution has been prepared in consultation with states, UT and all stakeholders.
The Oxygen Demand Aggregation System and Digital Oxygen Tracking System were developed to identify demand from healthcare facilities and track transport, he said.
The minister said that 1,02400 oxygen cylinders were purchased in April and May last year and distributed across states. Orders for an additional 1.27,000 cylinders were placed on April 21 – 54,000 giant cylinders (Type D) and 73,000 regular cylinders (Type B).
Deliveries began and as of July 7, 24,207 – 24,511 Type B cylinders and 8,893 Type D cylinders had been delivered.
PSA units are being installed to generate oxygen at the healthcare facility level, especially in remote areas, to allow hospitals to become self-sufficient in oxygen production and thus reduce the burden on the medical oxygen supply network across the country, the minister said.
To improve the availability of vaccines, manufacturers are provided with the necessary manual work to increase production, and plans to include new vaccines in COVID-19 immunization activities, which will further increase availability, he said.
Regarding whether the government is preparing a scheme for the introduction of a nasal vaccine or the use of an imported injectable vaccine for children, the minister said that the Central Organization for the Control of Standards for Medicines (CDSCO) has granted approval for phase I clinical trials of the intranasal adenovirus vector vaccine COVID-19. … (BBV154) – 18+ years old – at Bharat Biotech on February 12th.
Regarding the injectable vaccine for children, on May 12, CDSCO granted Bharat Biotech permission to conduct clinical trials of childhood vaccines – phase II / III – in the age group 2-18 years for the whole virion. inactivated vaccine against SARS-CoV-2; and on January 4, approval for — phase III clinical trials of a DNA vaccine from Cadila Healthcare Ltd in the age group 12 and older, he said.
The outcome of a clinical trial is dependent on data from a trial with a view to validating it for a national launch. In addition, CDSCO has not authorized clinical trials of any imported COVID-19 vaccine on children in the country, he said.
ALSO READ | COVID: Delhi Records 58 New Cases, Another Death