Two-thirds of India’s population have antibodies against the coronavirus, according to data released on Tuesday from a survey of 29,000 people across the nation conducted in June and July.
The fourth national blood serum survey, which tests for antibodies, known as a serosurvey, included 8,691 children aged 6-17 years for the first time. Half of them were seropositive.
The survey showed 67.6% of adults were seropositive, while more than 62% were unvaccinated. As of July, just over 8% of eligible adult Indians had received two vaccine doses.
About 40 crores of India’s 140 crore people did not have antibodies, the survey showed.
India’s daily cases have fallen to four-month lows after a second wave that crippled the healthcare system. But experts have warned the authorities against swiftly reopening cities and voiced concerns about overcrowding at tourist sites.
“The second wave is persisting. The danger of new outbreaks is very much there,” Vinod Kumar Paul, a top government adviser, told a news conference.
“One out of three, wherever you are, … is still vulnerable, and therefore the pandemic is no way over,” he said.
The study also surveyed 7,252 healthcare workers and found 85% had antibodies, with one in 10 unvaccinated.
Last month, data showed at least half of under-18s in India’s financial capital of Mumbai were exposed to COVID-19 and had antibodies against it.
Some experts have said a third wave could hit children. Mumbai has joined other cities in building huge pediatric wards in preparation.