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NEW DELHI : At least 20% of the adult population is fully vaccinated against coronavirus and over 62% has received at least one shot of covid-19 vaccine, central government said on Thursday.  

The union health ministry data further showed that five states and UTs—Chandigarh, Lakshdweep, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim have administered at least one dose to their 100% eligible population. 

Amidst the debate over booster shot of covid-19 vaccines in wake of research and studies showing fast wanning immunity of currently available vaccines, the government said that it has also been recommended by health agencies that the antibodies should not be measured as the cellular immunity also plays an important role in giving protection against the virus. 

 “The government is not thinking of booster shot rollout. It is currently focusing on completing the vaccine schedules of the adult population. Booster doses are not the central theme at the moment in the scientific and public healthcare discussion. Getting a full vaccination of two doses remains a major priority," said Dr Balram Bhargava, Director-General at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). 

India’s cumulative covid-19 vaccination coverage on Thursday crossed 77 crores. Meanwhile the cases of covid-19 continue to increase in the country at a slower pace than earlier. “The overall declining trend observed across India in weekly positivity since the week ending 12th May; Weekly positivity less than 3% for 11th consecutive week. In the last 24 hours, 30,570 cases have been reported. Almost 68% of the total cases reported nationally are from Kerala. Number of active cases has come down to below 3.5 lakhs; the Cumulative recovery rate is 97.6%," said Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan during a press briefing. The government also informed about the available and commissioned Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants in the country as the country is preparing for an anticipated third wave and to handle the ongoing second wave of covid-19 infections. 

 “Total PSA Plants available are 3,631 (4,571 MT). Of these 1,491 (2,281 MT) PSA plants from central resources, 2,140 (2,289 MT) are from State and other resources. Total 1,595 (2,088 MT) PSA plants have been commissioned. Of these 731 (1,024 MT) are from central resources and 864 (1,065 MT) are from State and other resources," said Bhushan. 

The government has shown concern over coronavirus cases in Mizoram; however, cases have reduced in Kerala. Kerala has over 1.99 lakh active cases while five other states - Mizoram, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have more than 10,000 active cases. Further, 34 districts in India are reporting more than 10% weekly positivity which is between 5-10% in 32 districts. 

 “Over 64 districts continue to report above 5% positivity rate. These are districts of concern where covid-19 appropriate behaviour, vaccination, surveillance must be monitored strictly," said Bhushan. 

The government said that ahead of the festival season in India citizens need to be cautious to avert any upsurge of cases.  

 “In October and November, the vulnerability will increase with flu season coinciding with festivities quarter we request everyone to be careful and retain the gain that we have achieved," said Bhargava. “Sudden increase in population density creates a very conducive environment for the virus to spread, so the call of the hour is vaccine acceptance, maintenance of covid-19 appropriate behaviour, responsible travel and responsible festivities," he said.

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