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Covid vaccination drive for general public starts, people need to cooperate: Dr Saleem Ur Rehman

People can register through CoWin Android app or Aarogya Setu app.

Jahangeer Ganaie

(Asian News Hub) – The health officials on Tuesday said that around 70 percent health care workers and 60 percent front line workers have received jabs of Covid vaccines and now the vaccination drive for general public has been started and masses need to cooperate as everyone will be covered.

As per the news agency—KNO, Director General of Family Welfare Dr Saleem Ur Rehman and State Immunisation Officer Dr Qazi Haroon, while addressing a press conference in Srinagar said that people must cooperate and in this phase senior citizens aged more than 60 years and those in the age group of 45-59 years with comorbidities are being covered.

Dr Saleem ur Rehman said that people have the option to either take their vaccine shots from a government facility or opt for a private hospital for which “we have already identified 34 private hospitals and their list will be published soon.”

The ceiling on price of vaccine will be Rs 250 including Rs 100 hospital charges for giving shot to the patient.

He said that in order to register for Covid-19 vaccination, people have options like online advance self-registration for Covid-19 vaccination can be done by downloading Android mobile app and through the Aarogya Setu app.

These apps will show all government and private hospitals that are serving as Covid-19 vaccination centres (CVCs), he said, adding that the apps will also show details of date and time of the available vaccination schedules.

“People who are eligible for vaccination in this phase will be able to choose the CVC of their choice and book an appointment for vaccination,” he said, adding that “in case you want to opt for on-site registration, you can walk into any identified vaccination centres and get yourself registered and vaccinated.”

He said that all people, irrespective of how they have registered for the vaccination, will have to carry any one of the including Aadhaar Card, Electoral Photo Identity Card, Photo ID card specified at the time of registration in case of online registration (if not Aadhaar or EPIC), Certificate of co-morbidity for citizens in age group of 45 years to 59 years (signed by a registered medical practitioner), he said.

The comorbidity certificate can either be uploaded on the apps by the beneficiary while self-registering or a hard copy of it can be carried by the person to the Covid-19 vaccination centre, he said.

Officials said that anyone above 60 whether having comorbidity or not will get vaccine, however people aged between 45-59 years are eligible for Covid-19 vaccination only if they have the comorbidities like Heart failure with hospital admission in past one year, Post cardiac transplant/ Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), Significant Left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVEF, Moderate or Severe Valvular Heart Disease, Congenital heart disease with severe PAH or Idiopathic PAH, Coronary Artery Disease with past CABG/ PTCA/ MI and Hypertension/ Diabetes on treatment, Angina and Hypertension/ Diabetes treatment, CT/MRI documented stroke and Hypertension/Diabetes on treatment, Pulmonary artery hypertension and Hypertension/ Diabetes on treatment, Diabetes (10 years or with complication) and Hypertension on treatment, Kidney/Liver/Hematopoietic stem cell transplant: Recipient/ On wait-list, End stage Kidney Disease on haemodialysis/ CAPD, Current prolonged use of oral corticosteroids/ immunosuppressant medications, Decompensated cirrhosis, Severe respiratory disease with hospitalisations in last two years/ FEVI, Lymphoma/ Leukaemia/ Myeloma, Diagnosis of any solid cancer on or after July 1, 2020 or currently on any cancer therapy, Sickle Cell Disease/ Bone marrow failure/ Aplastic Anemia/ Thalassemia Major, Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases/ HIV infection and Persons with disabilities due to Intellectual disabilities/ Muscular Dystrophy/ Acid attack with involvement of respiratory system/ Persons with disabilities having high support needs/ Multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness.

Dr Saleem said that we have vaccinated thousands of people so far and there was no case of any severe side effect so far and people must come forward without any fear and get vaccinated to beat this deadly pandemic.

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N95 masks are a must as COVID-19 spreads via airborne transmission too: AIIMS Chief

(Asian News Hub) – AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria said on Sunday that the fact that coronavirus can be transmitted through aerosols makes it more contagious since these are much smaller and lighter particles than droplets.

Because of their small size, aerosols can hang in the air and travel a distance of even up to 10 metres. He emphasised the need to use N95 masks for staying safe from the deadly disease.

Until now the emphasis has been that coronavirus is transmitted predominantly through droplets while coughing or sneezing. However, a study published in the reputed British medical journal The Lancet this week concludes that coronavirus spreads predominantly through airborne transmission.

Since the disease is airborne a social distance of 3 metres is not enough to keep you safe and you can get infected even after a person has left the immediate vicinity as the virus could be lingering in the air.

Speaking on NDTV, Dr Guleria said the debate of droplets versus aerosols has been going on for the last eight or nine months but the fact that the disease can be transmitted through aerosols which can travel through longer distances in the air makes the disease more contagious.

He said the virus from an infected person can linger in the air for much longer when it is carried in aerosols as these are much smaller particles than droplets which drop to the ground in the immediate vicinity.
Thus while a social distance of 3 metres is enough in the case of droplets, when it comes to aerosols the distance which the virus can travel could go up to 10 metres.

He said it is essential, therefore, to keep all rooms well ventilated so that aerosols are not left hanging in the air. The doors and windows of a room should be kept open, he added.

Guleria also said that meetings should not be held in closed rooms as if there is an infected person he can leave aerosols in the air. These are left floating in the air even after the person has left.

The AIIMS chief said it was also important to wear N95 masks as these can effectively stop the virus. But he emphasised that the mask should be worn properly so that it completely seals the nose and mouth. One must ensure that no air enters from the sides of the mask. N95 masks are a must.

He also said that in the case of a surgical mask or cloth masks, which are not as effective as N95 masks, wearing two masks helps as this provides a double layer of protection.

But if it is an N95 mask worn properly, then one mask is enough, he added.

AGENCY

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Covid-19 is primarily airborne: Lancet

(Asian News Hub) – A report in The Lancet journal has dismissed the predominant scientific view that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, is not an airborne pathogen.

Areport published in the journal The Lancet has dismissed the predominant scientific view that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, is not an airborne pathogen. The authors of the report have listed 10 reasons for their claim that “SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted primarily by the airborne route”.

The paper, written by six experts from the UK, the US and Canada, argues that there are “insufficient grounds for concluding that a pathogen is not airborne” while “the totality of scientific evidence indicates otherwise”. The experts called for urgent modification in the Covid-19 safety protocol.

CORONAVIRUS IS AIRBORNE: 10 REASONS CITED BY THE RESEARCHERS

  1. “Superspreading events account for substantial SARS-CoV-2 transmission; indeed, such events may be the pandemic’s primary drivers,” they said. Detailed analyses of human behaviours and interactions, room sizes, ventilation, and other variables, the authors said, are consistent with airborne spread of SARS-CoV-2 and the same cannot be adequately explained by droplets or fomites.
  2. Long-range transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between people in adjacent rooms but never in each other’s presence has been documented in quarantine hotels, the paper said.
  3. The experts argued that from 33 per cent to 59 per cent of all Covid-19 cases could be attributed to asymptomatic or presymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from people who are not coughing or sneezing. They said this supported a predominantly airborne mode of transmission.
  4. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is higher indoors than outdoors and is substantially reduced by indoor ventilation.
  5. The paper said nosocomial infections (those that originate in a hospital) had been documented even at places where healthcare professionals used personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to protect against droplet but not aerosol exposure.
  6. The experts said viable SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in the air. In laboratory experiments, SARS-CoV-2 stayed infectious in the air for up to 3 hours. They rejected the argument that SARS-CoV-2 was bit cultivated from air arguing that measles and tuberculosis, two primarily airborne diseases, had never been cultivated from room air.
  7. SARS-CoV-2 has been identified in air filters and building ducts in hospitals with COVID-19 patients; such locations could be reached only by aerosols, they said.
  8. The experts cited studies involving infected caged animals that showed transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via an air duct.
  9. Another argument of the experts was that no study to our knowledge provided strong or consistent evidence to refute the hypothesis of airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
  10. Their final argument was that there was limited evidence to support other dominant routes of transmission- i.e. respiratory droplet or fomite.

The claim of the experts, if proven and accepted, could have massive implications on counter-Covid-19 strategy across the world. This may require the people to wear mask even inside their homes, and possibly at all times.

The current understanding is that SARS-CoV-2 spreads through smaller aerosols that stay suspended in air or through fomites, the surfaces where the virus gets deposited, and could be picked by a health person. Gravity pulls down heavier droplets reducing the chances of infection considerably.

But if an infectious virus is mainly airborne, an individual could potentially be infected when they inhale aerosols produced when an infected person exhales, speaks, shouts, sings, sneezes, or coughs, the experts said. This changes the way the world should fight coronavirus pandemic.

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AstraZeneca woes grow as Australia, Philippines, African Union curb COVID shots

(Asian News Hub) – Australia and the Philippines limited use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, while the Africa Union dropped plans to buy the shot, dealing further blows to the company’s hopes to deliver a vaccine for the world.

The vaccine – developed with Oxford University and considered a frontrunner in the global vaccine race – has been plagued by safety concerns and supply problems since Phase III trial results were published in December, with Indonesia the latest country forced to seek doses from other vaccine developers.

The Philippines suspended the use of AstraZeneca shots for people below 60 after Europe’s regulator said on Wednesday it found rare cases of blood clots among some adult recipients although the vaccine’s advantages still outweighed its risks.

Australia recommended people under 50 should get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in preference to AstraZeneca’s, a policy shift that it warned would hold up its inoculation campaign.

The African Union is exploring options with Johnson & Johnson having dropped plans to buy AstraZeneca’s vaccine from India’s Serum Institute, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters.

AstraZeneca’s shot is sold at cost, for a few dollars a dose. It is by far the cheapest and most high-volume launched so far, and has none of the extreme refrigeration requirements of some other COVID-19 vaccines, making it likely to be the mainstay of many vaccination programmes in the developing world.

But more than a dozen countries have at one time suspended or partially suspended use of the shot, first on concerns about efficacy in older people, and now on worries about rare side effects in younger people.

That, coupled with production setbacks, will delay the rollout of vaccines across the globe as governments scramble to find alternatives to tame the pandemic which has killed more than 3 million.

Reuters

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