Two Mayo staffers test positive weeks after first vaccine shot

Published March 2, 2021
Two health workers in Lahore have tested positive for Covid-19 after having been administered a vaccine. — AFP/File
Two health workers in Lahore have tested positive for Covid-19 after having been administered a vaccine. — AFP/File

LAHORE: Two health workers in the city have tested positive for Covid-19 after having been administered a vaccine, creating doubts about re-exposure of a significant number of people being vaccinated in Punjab.

The Mayo Hospital health support staffer and his staff nurse wife at the institution were among the seven employees administered the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine recently under a government drive to vaccinate health professionals.

The couple was administered the first shot on Feb 4 and tested positive for Covid-19 three weeks later.

A senior health official suggested random sampling of other health professionals who have been vaccinated. The health authorities should immediately prepare data and analysis reports of coronavirus vaccine to clear any confusion, he added.

Senior official suggests random sampling of the vaccinated

“We were among the first seven employees of the Mayo Hospital Lahore finalised for the vaccination,” Mr Bhatti told Dawn.

“I’m a supervisor and designated to look after treatment protocols for Covid-19 patients,” he further said, adding that he was also assigned to shift bodies of the victims of the virus.

“As I planned to get my second dose of the vaccine on Feb 25, I felt temperature and the doctors who examined me suggested I take a Covid-19 test because of the typical symptoms,” he narrated, adding that the reports issued on Feb 28 came out positive.

Bhatti said his wife, Ismat, had also tested positive the same day. “My wife’s condition had got serious two days ago and she was shifted to the emergency ward of the Mayo Hospital where she remained under treatment,” he added. The couple is now isolated at home and a doctor was in contact with them.

Health and medical experts expressed concern over the situation, saying that the couple had contracted the virus three weeks after being administered their first doses of the vaccine -- a period sufficient to develop immunity.

A senior physician was of the view that there were conflicting reports about the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines. Some shots offered 75 per cent immunity and others 95pc, but the exact duration that the immunity lasted was not known yet.

He said some international researchers believed that the first dose was insufficient to develop immunity, while others said it should start working at least three weeks later.

The primary and secondary healthcare department said antibodies started developing at least 14 days after the first dose of a vaccine. A spokesperson said people should observe all protocols even after getting the vaccine.

He claimed that the Sinopharm vaccine was the best remedy against the infection, saying the government had, in the first phase, vaccinated more than 62 healthcare workers and professionals across the province. In the next phase, those in the 60 years and above age group would be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, 13 more patients of the virus died and 705 tested positive during the last 24 hours in Punjab. Out of these, 393 belonged to Lahore.

The total number of confirmed cases in Punjab has reached 172,054.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021

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