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'Why will there be third wave if we follow protocols, get vaccinated,' asks Dr VK Paul

NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul has said that avoiding a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is possible if people follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and more people get vaccinated.

NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul has said that avoiding a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is possible if people follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and more people get vaccinated.

Dr Paul cautioned people to not let their guard down. "Why will there be a third wave if we follow COVID-appropriate behaviour and get ourselves vaccinated? There are many countries where even second wave has not arrived, if we follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, this period will pass," Dr Paul said in a health ministry press briefing.

Dr Paul mentioned there are four factors that lead to the formation of a new wave- behaviour of the virus, susceptible host, transmissibility and opportunity.

He noted two of these elements-susceptibility and opportunity are under our control whereas the other two-behaviour of the virus and transmissibility is not, adding that susceptibility and opportunities can be controlled by wearing a face mask or getting the vaccine.Also read: COVID-19: Health ministry warns Maharashtra, Kerala, MP about 'Delta Plus' variant

Dr Paul said collected efforts by citizens and the system can be instrumental in stopping the third wave. He said people need to act in a responsible manner while the system needs to ensure isolation of clusters, contact tracing, ensuring testing capacity and building awareness around COVID-19 vaccination.

When asked about vaccine hesitancy, Dr Paul said it is a big mistake to think the vaccines are unsafe and this is the best time to go for it since the second wave has receded. He also pointed out that vaccinating health care workers on priority protected them during the second wave.

Speaking about easing COVID-19 curbs and reopening schools, Dr Paul said this decision needs to be taken cautiously since school is a crowd which can give opportunities to the virus to infect. He added, "We should take that risk only when we are rather better protected, virus is suppressed and we are able to sit at a distance. But it is not easy to take this decision to open schools when an unpredictable situation is prevalent."

Edited by Mehak Agarwal

Also read: COVID-19 vaccine in final stages of receiving approval in India: Pfizer CEO