There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic in India unified resources from all sectors, in the fight against the spread of the virus. The pandemic forced the financial, medical and technological infrastructure to contribute and fight together against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and assist in treatment of patients. Ziqitza Healthcare ltd, one of India’s leading healthcare and emergency service providers, points out that India has witnessed a stupendous success rate in its vaccination drive. As per the latest data by the health ministry, until May 30th 2022, 1,92,97,74,973 vaccine doses have been administered. The death rate has come down and the survival rate has witnessed an increase. However, despite long-covid as a condition is emerging within the country. People who have recovered from the Coronavirus disease, have reported experiencing some post-COVID syndrome, commonly referred as long-Covid.
Pointing towards the scientific evidence, Ziqitza explains that compared to Delta variant, Omicron variant and its sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, are less fatal and dangerous. Ziqitza Healthcare further elaborates that the major difference between the Omicron and Delta variant is that Omicron does not infect cells deep in lungs as Delta variant. Therefore, it is proved that the delta variant caused more damage to people’s lungs, forcing inflammatory immune responses which further caused tissue damage and oxygen deprivation. All this led to increased cases of death, and if not death, then incidences of long-Covid.
Ziqitza Rajasthan that has been actively working in the healthcare sector states that the most common symptoms that people experience who complain of long-covid are breathlessness, cough, fatigue, tiredness, headache, joint and muscle pain etc. ZHL Rajasthan explains that the prime reason why the Omicron variant couldn’t cause much damage is that the maximum number of people who have been vaccinated contributed to the herd immunity rendering Omicron variant less fatal and dangerous.
India currently has three vaccines available with high levels of efficacies. COVID-19 vaccines have proved to be beneficial against highly contagious Omicron and Delta variants. Ziqitza Limited explains that COVID-19 vaccines when administered develop a wider range of antibodies to fight mutations of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Ziqitza Limited Rajasthan remarks that the primary challenge with the Long-Covid related research is defining the condition. Since the symptoms vary from person to person, and the inconsistencies make it difficult to estimate how much vaccine curbs long-covid. Long Covid can be broadly classified into three kinds — the first category, is of those people who do not recover fully and continue to have ongoing symptoms because of direct cell damage caused by the COVID-19 virus. Second category can be attributed to those people whose symptoms are chronic and require hospitalisation for weeks including intensive care. Third category of Long covid denotes those where symptoms appear after full recovery from the disease. There have been instances of Long Covid even with mild SARS-CoV-2 infection. People who have had no symptoms are reporting long covid. Long-COVID is complex in nature and consists of a wide range of new, returning or ongoing symptoms and health conditions.
There are studies which conclude that vaccinated people have 50% lower risk of developing long-covid. However, there have been instances, which have proved otherwise.
Ziqitza Health care limited cites media reports and states that in India, around 4crore people have been suffering from Long-Covid since the year 2020, and these are the cases that have been reported. Taking into consideration the unreported cases, the actual figure could be much worse.
The scientific community is divided between tests and reports which presents use case scenarios wherein in few instances’ vaccines have been rewarding and have prevented long-covid; and then there have been incidents where vaccinated people have reported long-covid symptoms. There is no clear consensus whether vaccines are effective against long-covid or not. However, it is universally accepted that prevention is better than cure. People must continue to follow and adhere to Covid-19 safety guidelines and get vaccinated as soon as possible and take booster doses. Maximum number of vaccinated people in communities will promote herd immunity and provide better protection from existing variants and any other new mutated variants that might breakout in the future.