Nearly 92 per cent of the Covid deaths occurred among those who were unvaccinated in 2022, according to the Health Ministry. During the Omicron surge, India experienced a considerably lower number of deaths because of vaccine development, rapid deployment and wide scale coverage of the inoculation programme, said the Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research at a press conference here. On Thursday, India reported 6,561 Covid cases, with 142 deaths in the last 24 hours till 8:00 am. Daily cases have been less than 10,000 for continuous four days. Only one State, Kerala, has more than 10,000 active cases, while two States, including Maharashtra and Kerala, have active cases between 5,000-10,000, according to the Ministry.

Globally, India accounts for only 0.7 per cent of the total Covid cases in India. “Even now, across many countries, a large number of Covid cases are being reported. A sharp decline in infections is being observed in India. On an average, nearly 11,000 Covid cases are being reported in a week in the country. Only 0.7 per cent of global cases are recorded in India,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry. 

 VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog, said the country is in vaccine-enabled, low Covid-phase now, and it makes sense to ease Covid restrictions.

“We are at a level now where it is rational to open schools, colleges, and resort to economic activities, normal affairs of the society and the government,” said Paul, while also stressing on the continuous need for surveillance. He added that more than 10 lakh Covid tests were carried the previous day. 

Meanwhile, on mix-and-match boosting, Paul said that a decision is yet to be taken, and it is being discussed by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). On Biological E’s Corbevax vaccine, Paul said that data have been seen by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). It is also expected that data by the company and the investigators would also be placed in the scientific journals. “It’s a matter of practice that whatever scientific evidence emerges is placed in science journals. We have placed orders of certain quantities which have been delivered. This vaccine will find a way into the country’s immunization programme. But when to use it will be based on the overall vaccination programme,” said Paul. “Also, rest assured that the Corbevax data for both these vaccines, is being reviewed as a part of rolling of the vaccine by NTAGI from time to time,” he further added.

On a recent study by the Indian Institute of Technology, which predicted a fourth wave in June, Paul said that these projections are based on assumptions and data and that the government is carefully watching it. However, any conclusion can be made only by factoring into all the parameters as the present scenario is dynamic. 

On Thursday, till 8:00 pm, the country administered 23.47 lakh vaccine doses, aggregating to more than 178.17 crore shots given so far, according to the CoWIN dashboard. 

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