Vaccines work against 'Delta plus' COVID-19 variant: Madhya Pradesh health dept official
Indore, Jun 24: With Madhya Pradesh reporting five cases of the ''Delta plus'' variant of COVID-19 so far, a top health department official on Thursday said the vaccines currently being administered to people are effective against the highly contagious strain.
Delta plus has already been declared a variant of concern by the Centre. Madhya Pradesh is among a handful of states where the cases of ''Delta plus'' variant have been found.
"Among the five people found infected with the Delta plus variant, three are already vaccinated and even after getting affected with the new varaint, there was no need for them to rush to hospital, which means the vaccine is effective against it (the new variant) also," additional chief secretary (health) Mohammad Suleiman told reporters.
He quoted an official of the Delhi-based National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as saying that the Delta plus variant''s severity is comparatively more (than existing strains), but at present there are not many cases of this variant in the country. Therefore, it is not possible to predict what will be its impact on the population, Suleiman said, quoting the NCDC official.
The state is on alert and testing will be enhanced to know whether people are getting infected by the ''Delta plus'' variant, Suleiman said. Madhya Pradesh is among the five states where genome sequencing facilities will be started by the NCDC, the senior bureaucrat said.
This decision followed chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan''s discussions with NCDC officials, he said. Suleiman said people are enthusiastic about getting vaccines and those residing in tribal areas are also coming forward to receive doses.
Expressing happiness over Indore vaccinating a record 2.25 lakh people on Monday, he said, "If we are able to arrange adequate stock of vaccines, then the entire eligible population of Indore district can be inoculated by mid-July. He informed the state government has set a target to administer at least the first dose to all eligible people by September-end.