People with weakened immune systems getting ‘breakthrough Covid infection’: Experts


Bhubaneswar: Even as the grim battle against the Coronavirus continued for more than 18 months, most people were puzzled about those who had taken the mandatory two shots of the Covid vaccine to shield themselves against the infection getting the disease.

Such infections happen in cases with low immunity even after getting the vaccine and in many cases the patients become seriously ill requiring long treatment, a team of experts at the SUM Ultimate Medicare (SUMUM) here said on Wednesday.

Prof. Banambar Ray, Head of the Department of Critical Care Medicine in the hospital, told newspersons that death occurred in about two per cent of the Covid-19 afflicted people while around three per cent of the patients required long treatment.

Of the total patients, around five per cent were getting critical while between 12 to 15 per cent needed hospitalization.

 “But around 80 to 82 per cent of the Covid-affected people with minor or no symptoms did not require any hospitalization,” Dr. Ray said.

Prof. Ray said when a fully immunized person was infected by the virus, it was being referred to as ‘breakthrough infection’ implying that the virus had broken through a protective barrier provided by the vaccine.

Individuals with weakened immune system were at higher risk of getting breakthrough infection because the vaccine was less effective in such cases, he said.

Patients who had been infected in spite of having been immunized required hospitalization for a period of one month to five months which was being described as ‘long Covid’, Prof. Ray said.

Brig. (Dr.) Biraj Mohan Mishra, Chief of Medical Services, SUMUM, informed that two persons who were critically affected by Covid-19 and were treated in the hospital for a long time had recovered due to the relentless effort of the treating team comprising doctors, nurses and paramedics.

All the departments extended their support in this ongoing battle against the pandemic, he said.

The two patients were 72-year-old Gautam Buddha Mukherjee, a retired senior bureaucrat, and 21-year-old engineering student Mohammed Shafaq Ali. Mukherjee, who had co-morbidities, had spent 16 days in ICU as his oxygen saturation level remained low.

He was treated for nearly two months in the hospital as he suffered from long Covid, he said.

Treatment of Ali was a greater challenge as the patient remained critical for a long time. He was on ventilator and a tracheostomy was needed to be done as the lungs were in bad shape.

“Treating this patient was very difficult but we are glad that we could successfully bring him around,” Prof. Ray said.

He said the critical care and microbiology teams received full support from Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Banabihari Mishra, Consultant in the general surgery department, Dr. Satyajit Rath, Senior Clinical Nutritionist Sushree Sangita Jena and Physiotherapist P. Balakishore.