Visakhapatnam: The magnitude of the Covid-19 third wave will depend on adherence to appropriate behaviour, the extent of vaccination and aggressive surveillance, said Dr Randeep Guleria, noted pulmonologist and AIIMS Delhi director. Dr Guleria was bestowed Gitam Deemed-to-be University’s 41st Foundation Award in Visakhapatnam on Saturday.
In an interview done by TOI, Dr Guleria said the only unpredictable factor that may affect the trajectory of the third wave could be constant mutations of the virus. “However, I believe the impact of the third wave may not be as bad as the second wave. But people should understand we are yet to overcome the second wave as India is still reporting about 40,000 cases a day,” said Dr Guleria.
When asked if any vaccine tweaking is needed for the mutations, the AIIMS director said existing Covid-19 vaccines are effective against all variants. Even if vaccine recipients contract the virus, the disease will be milder and prevent deaths, he said. In reply to a question on the need for booster shots, Dr Guleria said booster shots can be considered only after vaccinating all people in the country.
Answering a query on the anticipated impact of the third wave on children, Dr Guleria said there is no scientific evidence to prove that it may disproportionately affect kids. “It is only a general assumption. As per the recent sero-survey, about 50% of kids have developed antibodies against the virus, which points to the fact that they may have contracted the virus from other infected family members, but might have remained asymptomatic or escaped with mild symptoms,” said Dr Guleria.