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‘Omicron is not common cold’: Centre warns citizens

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On January 12, the Union Health Ministry warned the citizens saying that Omicron infection is not a common cold, and also added that fully vaccinated people were 78% less likely to develop COVID-19 infection than unvaccinated people.

Fully vaccinated people are on the safe side

Referring to a study by the New York State Health Department, Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, said the report, based on analysis since May 2021, also showed that fully vaccinated people had between 90.2% and 95.7% lower chance of being hospitalised.

Drastic rise in positivity rate due to Omicron

The Ministry stated that the positivity rate in the country had risen to 11.05% on January 12 from 1.1% on December 30. It said Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Gujarat were emerging as States of concern due to the rapid rise in cases there.

It added that 300 districts in the country were reporting weekly case positivity of more than 5%, with 19 States having more than 10,000 active cases.

V.K. Paul while speaking to media

While speaking to the media at a press conference, V.K. Paul, Niti Aayog member (Health) said, “Though hospitalisation rates are so far low, Omicron should not be taken lightly with the variant now putting extreme stress on healthcare systems and workers across the global. During the last surge, misuse and overuse of medicines happened and should not be repeated. Guidelines are clear about the treatment protocol and will be updated as per scientific evidence and data.”

He further added, “We need to be vigilant, get vaccinated and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour. Vaccination is an important pillar in our COVID-response programme.”

Issuing a warning against the use of Molnupiravir, the second time this week, Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research Balram Bhargava said the side-effects of the antiviral pill far outweighed its benefits.

Centre plans to introduce live dashboard to monitor key drugs used in COVID-19 treatment

Amid the rising number of coronavirus cases, the central government is planning to create a live dashboard of critical drugs. Aimed at monitoring the availability of medicines across India, this move is likely to prevent shortage and black marketing of key Covid-19 drugs in the country.

The drug price and availability watchdog – National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA) that works under the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) is creating a plan to set up a system to track the availability of the stock in hand and the sales.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals was created on July 1, 2008 in the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers to give greater focus and thrust on the development of the pharmaceutical sector in the country and to regulate various complex issues related to pharmacy.

It is the apex body to form key policies for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry in the country.



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