Frontline workers are one of the most vulnerable groups to the COVID-19 virus. Lack of sufficient protective factors and mismanagement are the primary causes for the same. Such an instance was seen in Uttarakhand, where more than 2,382 police personnel tested positive for coronavirus, despite getting two shots of vaccine.
As per the data shared with the Indian Express by state authorities, 93% of police personnel were given both doses of vaccines before they were tested positive. According to the Conversation, “Clinical trials show COVID vaccine protection is optimal from about two weeks after your second dose.” This means it will take a couple of weeks or more (varies from person to person) to shield one’s body from the virus. During this specific period, if one is exposed to the virus, there is no guarantee that the person is safe from infection.
Among the infected policemen, five were reported dead, while 2,204 have recovered successfully. “According to the data, two of the five policemen who died had comorbidities. The other three were not vaccinated,” reported the Indian Express.
As shocking as it may seem, these reports come weeks after the end of the Kumbh Mela held in Haridwar, Uttarakhand. This Hindu religious pilgrimage started on March 31 and continued till April 24, keeping frontline workers on their toes, leading to dangerous exposure and threat to their lives. This was amid the second wave, during the nation’s most gruesome fight against COVID-19.
According to the Uttarakhand police, close to 10,000 cops were deployed for Kumbh Mela duty at the time, out of whom 60 were infected with COVID-19. The Kumbh Mela, which saw 3.5 million devotees, was termed as ‘super-spreaders’ by epidemiologists.
Lalit Kant, the former head of the division of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, while talking to the BBC said, “Huge groups of mask-less pilgrims sitting on the riverbank singing the glories of the Ganges created an ideal environment for the virus to spread rapidly. We already know that chorus singing in churches and temples are known to be super-spreader events.”
As of Thursday, Uttarakhand has a total of 3.31 lakh active cases with a total death toll of 6,535 and a recovery rate of 88.62%.