New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: As India prepares to start the next phase of coronavirus vaccination, All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria has flagged concerns over the "new Indian strains" of COVID-19, saying it could be more "infectious and dangerous".

Speaking to an English news channel, Dr Guleria said that the new Indian strains of COVID-19 found in Maharashtra can even "cause re-infections in those who have developed antibodies" against the infection.

Asking people to strictly follow all necessary COVID-19 protocols, Dr Guleria told the news channel India won't be able to achieve herd immunity as it would require nearly 80 per cent of the total population to have antibodies against the virus.

Though he said that vaccines will work against the new strains, Dr Guleria noted that the efficacy of the vaccine might get reduced, adding that consistent surveillance might be required to modify the vaccines.

"India needs to go back to aggressive measures of testing, contact tracing and isolating infections," he told the English news channel.

Dr Guleria's warning comes a day after the Union Health Ministry flagged corners over the sudden spike of fresh daily COVID-19 cases in five states -- Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

Though active COVID-19 cases in India have seen a dip, the Health Ministry on Saturday stressed the importance of adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour for breaking the chain of transmission and containment of the spread of the disease.

Currently, the first phase of COVID-19 vaccination is underway in India. Till Saturday, the country had vaccinated 1,07,15,204 doses which includes 63,28,479 healthcare workers (first dose), 8,47,161 healthcare workers (second dose) and 35,39,564 frontline workers (first dose).

The second dose of COVID-19 vaccination started on February 13 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the first dose. Vaccination of the frontline workers started on February 2.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma