06/14/2021, 16.23
INDIA
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Christian hospital confirms vaccine efficacy against COVID-19’S Indian variant

by Nirmala Carvalho

A preliminary study by the Christian Medical College in Tamil Nadu involving fully vaccinated healthcare workers reduced infection by 65 per cent, even more among those affected by milder symptoms. For Card Gracias, “vaccination is an obligation for oneself and for others.”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Vaccines are working well against the Indian (delta) variant of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, this according to a study on healthcare staff working at the Christian Medical College (CMC), a large hospital in Vellore (Tamil Nadu) with over 2,600 beds and 10,600 employees.

By 30 April, i.e. the height of the second wave of the pandemic in India, about 84.8 per cent of the hospital’s employees received a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine with a smaller number getting the Indian-made Covaxin.

Some 679 (9.6 per cent) of the 7,080 CMC employees who received their second dose became infected by the virus within 47 days of the second dose. This is 65 per cent lower than for the unvaccinated.

In addition, those who contracted COVID-19 also required fewer hospitalisations (-77 per cent), less use of oxygen tanks (-92 per cent) and fewer intensive care admissions (-94 per cent).

“The only staff member who died since the beginning of the pandemic had multiple co-morbidities and had not taken the vaccine,” noted the study, authored by Dr Joy J Mammen, professor at the Department of Transfusion Medicine, CMC Vellore.

“The study, though limited to healthcare workers at the Christian Medical College, was done very scientifically with statistically significant data,” said Dr Pascoal Carvalho, member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, speaking to AsiaNews about the CMC research.

So far, some 254 million doses of vaccine have been administered in India or 15.2 per cent of the population. Some 70,421 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours, far less than in previous weeks, with the overall death toll now standing at 374,305.

Card Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, is strongly in favour of the vaccination.

“I have not read the study,” he told AsiaNews, but “I have been encouraged by what the Pope has said and I am following his example explaining that it (vaccination) is an act of charity and an obligation for oneself and for others.”

For the prelate, it is essential “not to be a carrier” of the virus. Ultimately, “the world has to get rid of it. I am 100 per cent certain that from a moral point of view there is nothing intrinsically wrong with it.” In fact, the Bishops’ Conference has “examined” the issue and “released a statement“ too clarify the matter.

“Our healthcare personnel are carrying out campaigns, even in remote areas, encouraging people to get  vaccinated,” the cardinal explained.

“The Church in India operates over a thousand hospitals with over 60,000 beds,” he added. “Catholic youth volunteers are encouraging people to get vaccinated.”

“In the Archdiocese of Bombay (Mumbai), many of our convent schools and hospitals have opened their premises as vaccination centres where people of all faiths can get their vaccination.”

Indeed, “On 6 June, the Sisters of St Joseph’s Convent” welcomed “around a thousand Chembur residents” for vaccination. They were thanked by State Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackery, the son of Chief Minister” Uddhav Thackery.

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