Nagpur: The third phase of Covid vaccination programme which started from March 3 has turned out to be a probable super spreader event in the city.
TOI has found that a lot of patients with comorbidities and elderly people visited vaccination centres days before they tested positive.
Many of them have been vaccinated with the first dose, while a lot of healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FCWs) had taken the second dose before they tested Covid-positive.
Doctors and civic authorities have ruled out a vaccination failure but said it was likely that these Covid patients were already infected or may have contracted the infection after failing to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour at the centre.
On March 3, the Nagpur district witnessed intense crowding at many centres after the government started the drive’s phase 3, allowing age-appropriate groups to get inoculated.
The sudden rush had caught district and civic administration off-guard and led to a lot of chaos repeatedly for a couple of days, before the process was streamlined.
Kingsway Hospital’s internal medicine expert Dr Harshvardhan Bora said, “Some tested positive two days after vaccination while others showed up on the 15th day. Some HCWs and FLWs tested positive after the second dose.”
HCWs and FLWs were being forced to queue up with citizens having comorbidities and elderly people since March 3.
Dr Mohan Nerker, one of the directors of Seven Star Hospital, is treating three vaccinated elderly Covid patients. “One had to be admitted. Two were on OPD treatment. Maybe they were carrying the virus and neglected symptoms, or it was due to crowding. They tested positive after seven days of first dose,” he said, adding that complete vaccination protection sets in after two months.
Infectious disease specialist Dr Nitin Shinde said transmission mostly happens indoors, whether it be a vaccination centre, a shop or mall. “This has happened in other countries also. Yet, vaccination ensures severity is less after two doses,” he said.
Chest physician Dr Syed Tarique has six vaccinated Covid patients. “They had fever for seven days and finally tested positive. There is confusion among doctors about effectiveness of the vaccine on a virus variant, if any. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) must formulate a treatment plan for vaccinated people. The government must direct ICMR to issue an advisory soon,” he said.
Government medical college and hospital (GMCH), Nagpur’s medical superintendent Dr Avinash Gawande said no Covid patient at GMCH so far had mentioned about a history of vaccination or being at any centre before testing positive.
Kunal Hospital director Dr Shishir Shrivastav said every place holds a potential Covid hazard. “You are not safe at a vaccination centre if you don’t take complete precautions like wearing a mask, sanitizing hands and distancing. There is no guarantee that you won’t test positive soon after vaccination,” he said, adding beneficiaries must follow norms before, during and after vaccination.
Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC)’s chief medical officer Dr Sanjay Chilkar said there is a claim that vaccinated people can’t test positive, but vaccination is the only weapon we have to prevent severity of Covid. “Hardly a few test positive after getting vaccinated because of several reasons. At many places, vaccination is less but cases are still spiking. So it is wrong to say cases jumped due to crowding at the centres,” he said.
Dr Chilkar said none of NMC’s immunization staff had tested positive.
Doctors’ advice during dose
Continue to follow Covid norms as you were doing before vaccination
Mask, sanitizer, distancing are key even at time of inoculation
Vaccination will not give 100% protection, but disease will be mild
One person from a family can book a slot and then take the beneficiary
Only 10 persons must be allowed at a time at a centre
HCWs, FLWs, comorbid persons and elderly tested positive 3-15 days after first jab
Some HCWs and FLWS tested positive even after second dose
Doctors state they may have been infected before or during the vaccination visit