This Independence Day, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is set to embark on a serological survey project to find out if vaccinated citizens have developed enough antibodies to beat the virus and what has been the effect of Covid vaccine shots on those suffering from co-morbidity. Around 1-1.5 lakh people are expected to be surveyed in the project.
The KMC health department which has been on the forefront of the inoculation drive is now gearing up for the massive survey that will be conducted through random sampling in 144 wards.
“Our team of experts and health workers are ready to carry out the survey. They will visit various neighbourhoods and take blood samples of people who have been vaccinated, including those who have received both shots and those who have got only a single shot. The selection of people will be random. Of course, we will try to ensure that there are people with co-morbidities in the sample group as well,” said a KMC health department official who is one of the members of the civic task force that will conduct the study.
The KMC will begin the survey from Chetla-Kalighat-Alipore belt. Later, the voluntary health workers will visit households in other wards, a civic health department source said. Residents of some of the city’s large slums, including Belgachhia in north and Peyara Bagan in south are expected to be included in the survey.
To ensure the survey is carried out properly and its results are credible, KMC has roped in experts in the field of public health. Maitreyee Banerjee, an expert in microbiology, will bring to the table her experience of conducting similar studies at SSKM.
According to Banerjee, it was essential to study the impact of the vaccines on people who have been suffering from co-morbidity. “Besides determining the presence of antibodies in citizens who have taken the shots, we also need to know the impact of vaccines on people who have been suffering from co-morbidity factors,” Banerjee said.
A KMC health department source said the civic body had a ready list of citizens suffering from co-morbidity factors from a survey that had been carried out last September. The civic team had then surveyed 7.5 lakh households across the city and found 1 lakh people had some sort of co-morbidity factors. Hypertension and diabetes were found to be present in a majority of people who had co-morbidities.
A KMC official said Board of Administrators (BoA) chairman Firhad Hakim and municipal commissioner Binod Kumar had already held multiple meetings with the civic health department to ensure necessary logistic support for the survey.
“This is a good move and will help to gauge the exact immune status of the vaccinated population ahead of third wave. A large section of them will have antibodies since vaccination has gained momentum in the last three months. Hence, they should be relatively safe,” said another microbiologist.