19 June 2021
Leading hospital chain, Fortis Healthcare today released findings of a study to understand the role of vaccines and severity of COVID-19 infection post-vaccination. The evidence-based study highlights that 92% of the fully vaccinated healthcare workers amongst those who acquired infection post-vaccination developed only mild COVID-19 infection, largely recovering under home care, despite a surge in serious infections during the second wave of the pandemic.
The study further found that, amongst those who turned COVID-19 +ve post-vaccination, just 1% of fully vaccinated healthcare workers developed severe illness requiring ICU care/ ventilator support. The study assessed around 16000 healthcare workers who had been administered both 1st and 2nd doses of vaccine between January 2021 and May 2021. This included the peak period of the second wave, wherein India was recording 3.5 to 4 lakhs cases each day and HCWs were working 24×7, spearheading the recovery of seriously infected patients.
The overall findings of the study emphasize that the vaccines available in India for COVID-19 are effective and do offer protection against SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Key findings of the Fortis study:
1. >92% HCWs (16000) who received both 1st and 2nd dose of 2-dose vaccine (fully vaccinated) did not face severe outcomes: ICU care/ mortality.
2. After receiving both the doses, only 6% staff got infected.
3. Figure 1 shows, amongst those who got infected after getting fully vaccinated, 92% were mildly infected cases while 7% developed moderate illness requiring oxygen support and only 1% developed severe illness requiring ICU care/ ventilation.
Commenting on the findings of the study, Dr Bishnu Panigrahi, Group Head – Medical Strategy & Operations Fortis Healthcare Ltd, said, “The study clearly brings out important findings that the vaccines available in India for COVID-19 do provide protection against the virus even in healthcare workers who are at most risk and vulnerable to get infected by the virus. While India has sound vaccine manufacturing capacity at its disposal, what is really needed is a comprehensive and multi-pronged mass education strategy to achieve last mile delivery. We need to use our research and study findings in varied ways and smart data analytics to bust rumours, myths and hesitancy among the population on getting inoculated. Evidences are the best means to spread awareness and help authentic information reach each and every citizen of India. We have to stop the virus in its transit corridors, ramp up all efforts to protect both life and livelihood”.
Vaccine efficacy is generally reported as relative risk reduction (RRR). Studies have already demonstrated that being vaccinated against COVID-19 significantly reduces risk of being infected. For example, in clinical trials, a 95% vaccine efficacy would indicate vaccinated individuals will be 95% less likely to get COVID-19. If 1% of the unvaccinated population develops COVID-19, getting the vaccine would reduce chances of getting COVID-19 by 95%, resulting in a 0.05% infection rate.