Seven states and UTs have reported no new COVID-19 deaths in the last three weeks, while 15 have not registered any such fatality in the past 24 hours, the Centre said on Tuesday, underlining that from the pandemic point of view consistent gains are being made in terms of declining new cases and casualities.

The Centre, however, noted that the last national serosurvey findings have shown that over 70 per cent of the population is still susceptible to the disease.

The seven states and UTs — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Mizoram, Nagaland and Lakshadweep — have reported no new COVID-19 deaths in last three weeks, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

Addressing a press briefing, he said India was the fastest country to reach 6 million vaccination doses of COVID-19 in 24 days.

Bhushan said within the country also some states have performed well, while others need to improve their vaccination coverage.

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“There are 12 states and UTs that have vaccinated more than 65 per cent of the registered healthcare workers. These states are Bihar (78.1 per cent), Tripura (77.1 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (76 per cent), Uttarakhand (73.7 per cent), Odisha (72.4 per cent), Mizoram (69.9 per cent), Himachal Pradesh (68.7 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (68 per cent), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (67.9 per cent), Rajasthan (67.2 per cent), Kerala (66.9 per cent) and Lakshadweep (66.7 per cent),” he said.

On the other hand, Bhushan said, there are 11 states and UTs that have vaccinated less than 40 per cent of healthcare workers. These are Puducherry (15.4 per cent), Manipur (21.3 per cent), Nagaland (21.5 per cent), Meghalaya (24.3 per cent), Chandigarh (28.7 per cent), Punjab (34.1 per cent), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (34. 5 per cent), Ladakh (35.8 per cent), Jammu and Kashmir (37.5 per cent) and Delhi (38 per cent).

“These are the states we are in touch with and telling them to increase the coverage,” he said.

Bhushan said the Centre has advised states and UTs that all frontline workers must be scheduled for vaccination at least once by March 1, 2021.

“We have further advised states and UTs that all frontline workers must be given opportunity of mop-up rounds by March 6, 2021. Those frontline workers who do not get vaccinated in scheduled vaccination rounds or in mop-up rounds will have to be relegated to the age-specific vaccination rounds,” he said.

Bhushan said a meeting of National AEFI Committee was held on February 5 where discussions were held on 8 AEFI cases following COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Out of these 8 cases, causality assessment of 5 cases (2 deaths and 3 hospitalized) was conducted. Among hospitalised cases, all three were discharged. Two have been diagnosed as anaphylaxis; classified as vaccine-product related reaction (known and expected reactions following vaccinations) and one case diagnosed as syncope: classified as immunization triggered stress response (anxiety reaction),” he said.

Among death cases, Bhushan said it was found they were not related to vaccination.

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Bhushan said histopathology and chemical analysis report in three death cases are awaited from the state government.

“We are making a standard template through which we will put information in public domain,” he said.

There is no evidence of presence of South Africa variant of SARs-CoV-2 in India so far, but we are keeping a watch, he said.

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