Patna: The new emerging variants are said to be highly transmissible and may be able to evade vaccine-induced immunity, said National Immunisation Programme , Advisor- Dr Naresh Purohit adding that amid a growing number of breakthrough COVID infections, many reasons, including variants like Delta and Lambda, waning immunity and immunocompromised people with cancer or AIDS, have come to the fore.

  Dr Naresh Purohit  said the new emerging variants are said to be highly transmissible and may be able to evade vaccine-induced immunity.Given that COVID vaccines were developed in respect to the original COVID strain, new variants may dodge the antibodies provided by the vaccines.

He opined that as long as COVID is circulating in the community, infections in fully vaccinated people "cannot be completely eliminated."
Not only are fully vaccinated people capable of becoming infected—developing so-called "breakthrough" cases (usually mild or asymptomatic)— but now theres evidence that even the vaccinated can pass the virus on to others, something that hadnt been seen until Delta came along.

Sharing his concern on this issue WHO-Covid19 technical lead  Dr Purohit said  all infections that occur among fully vaccinated people 15 days after the second jab are considered breakthrough infections as per WHO stipulation. It means about 20-25% are breakthrough infections and this is set to increase further as the number of vaccinated people increases.
He pointed  that the breakthrough infection is especially high among healthcare workers. Besides, many more people have been developing adverse effects (side effects) due to vaccines.

Citing a recent report published in the Public Health England journal Dr Purohit said that between February and June 2021 , more vaccinated people in England died of COVID than those unvaccinated. In fact, 163 of 237 people (63.4 per cent) who died due to the Delta variant had been vaccinated.

Principal Investigator for National Integrated Disease  Surveillance  Programme Dr Purohit said breakthrough infections have become a global phenomenon, though the risks are much less compared to unvaccinated people. But their contagious potential continues to be high.
He further said immunocompromised individuals should take utmost care of themselves.

Senior Epidemiologist Dr Purohit stated that with the increase in the number of fully vaccinated people, the number of breakthrough infections will also rise. Research on breakthrough infections continues in all countries. The intriguing aspect is whether vaccines are really effective. “Also, is it that breakthrough infections are by other variants such as Delta, Delta Plus and Lambda? This fact is not being analysed,” he added.
Noted Infectious Disease Expert Dr Purohit revealed that vaccines prevent infection, hospitalisation and death in 60-85 per cent of people, but don’t protect everyone. Breakthrough infections can be caused by Delta and Lamda variants and their subtypes.
Vaccine- induced effectiveness against Lambda is only 35-40 per cent.
“It will be good to see if any Indian study is completed on vaccine breakthrough infections by ICMR and published soon" he averred.
He observed that  fully vaccinated person if infected can spread fresh strains. The only solace so far is that these breakthrough infectious have a remarkably low viral load in these individuals. This means they are less infectious to others.
He stressed that  contacts of such people should wear masks at all times.
Dr Purohit stated  that immunocompromised people are now being advised in some countries to take a booster dose after 5-6 months.
At some point "when polyvalent booster vaccines are made, there will be different recommendations about booster doses for the general public,"he added.