The Union health ministry’s latest guideline said those who tested Covid positive should wait for three months after recovery to get vaccinated, as they have natural antibodies present. However, a group of public health experts, which includes doctors from AIIMS and the members of Covid-19 national task force, has suggested that there is no need to vaccinate people who had documented Covid-19 infection.
Do Covid-infected people not require vaccination? Here is what we know
> In the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been instances of reinfections. AIIMS Delhi has conducted a study on breakthrough infection — infections after partial or full vaccination — which reveals that vaccination stops the reinfection to become severe, but it does not guarantee protection from reinfection.
> A Lancet study has said the risk of reinfection gets reduced for up to 10 months following the first infection. The study conducted by the researchers from the University College London is based on antibody testing of people who are previously infected and those who are not. The study was conducted in the UK
> According to the Indian experts’ report, there is not enough evidence that vaccine is beneficial after natural infection. “There is no need to vaccinate people who had documented Covid-19 infection. These people may be vaccinated after generating evidence that vaccine is beneficial after natural infection,” the report said.
> As the objective of the vaccination drive should be to control the disease, those who have been already infected should not be the priority, as they are naturally protected, the report suggested.
> Is the suggestion of keeping once-infected people out of vaccination for now influenced by vaccine crunch? Yes, the report clarified that the present situation of the pandemic in the country demands that prioritisation instead of opening it to all. “Moreover, we can conserve considerable resources if we exclude adults who have recovered from natural infection,” it said.
Here are the other suggestions of the expert group
> Vaccination strategy should be guided by repeated, local, real-time serosurveys to map the vulnerability at the district level.
> More research on reinfection, infection among vaccinated and non-vaccinated people. Such cohorts should be followed up for a long period for better findings.
> Unplanned vaccination can trigger mutant strains, the experts said, referring to vaccination of age groups, which are not yet supported by evidence.
(With agency inputs)