25% of children aged 10-17 have already been exposed
Close to 300 million people across India have already been infected with Covid-19, according to the country’s latest sero-survey.
The report, which checks the spread of disease in a population, was released on Thursday, February 4, 2021, by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
It reveals that more than 21% of India’s billion-plus population has been exposed to Covid-19.
This equates to at least one in every five Indians over 18.
The sero-survey took place during December 2020 and January 2021, shortly before India began its vaccination drive.
ICMR‘s Director-General Balram Bhargava said that according to the sero-survey, 25% of children aged 10-17 have already been exposed to the virus.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, February 4, 2021, Bhargava said:
“Among the healthcare workers, sero-prevalence was highest overall with 25.7%.”
Sero-prevalence refers to the presence of antibodies against Covid-19 in the population.
According to the survey, the sero-prevalence level in urban slums was 31.7%, while it was 26.2% in non-slum urban areas.
Both of these statistics are significantly higher than exposure in rural areas, which was 19.1%.
An earlier sero-survey of Delhi showed that over half of India’s population had developed antibodies against Covid-19.
However, India is still a long way away from achieving herd immunity.
A tweet by the Ministry of Health from Friday, January 29, 2021, reiterates this.
Hi @SushmitaPanda, “Currently, India is far from the state of herd immunity, as more than 75% of Indians are unexposed to and uninfected with Covid-19. We should not lower our guards as yet. Vaccine is important for this very reason.”– Dr. Samiran Panda @ICMRDELHI #VaccineVarta https://t.co/vXGtEgYbq8
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) January 29, 2021
The tweet read:
“India is far from the state of herd immunity, as more than 75% of Indians are unexposed to an uninfected with Covid-19.
“We should not lower our guard as yet. Vaccine is important for this very reason.”
What does the latest ser0-survey mean for India?
The latest sero-survey emphasises that a large population of India still remains vulnerable to Covid-19, therefore vaccines are of the utmost importance.
It also reiterates that the need for preventive measures, such as masks and social distancing, is still at an all-time high.
India’s vaccine programme is being dubbed as the world’s biggest coronavirus vaccination programme.
The country aims to vaccinate at least 300 million people by August 2021.
The vaccination process began in January 2021, with a primary focus on healthcare workers.
The exposure of the virus among healthcare workers was around 25.7%, according to the sero-survey.
So far, more than 4.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered.
India’s vaccination programme concerns two vaccines. One is the Oxford-AstraZenica vaccine while the other has been developed by BharatBiotech and the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, 10.8 million cases have been recorded in India.
As a result, India has the second-highest number of infections globally, after the USA. India has also reported more than 154,000 fatalities.