COVID Vaccine Booster Dose: What Is The Latest Thinking In India?
New Delhi: To give booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine or not. That’s the million-dollar question facing India.
The stated approach of experts who advise the Central government has so far been to wait and watch.
But with nations like the US and UK having started administering a booster dose in phases, six months after vaccination, the Indian government has kept an open mind. It has been reported that the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI) will discuss the booster issue at its next meeting towards the end of this month.
However, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general Dr Balram Bhargava said on Monday that there is no scientific evidence so far to support the need for a booster vaccine dose against COVID-19.
“Administering the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adult population and ensuring that not only India but the entire world gets vaccinated is the priority of the government for now. More so, as there is no scientific evidence so far to support the need for a booster vaccine dose against COVID-19,” Bhargava was quoted as saying by PTI.
Vaccinating the entire world is what World Health Organization (WHO) has also been harping on. Recently, WHO termed rich nations’ booster dose drive as a scandal.
Union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya had said recently that adequate vaccine stocks are available now and the government’s aim is to complete full vaccination of the eligible population. A decision on booster dose will be taken after that, based on experts’ recommendation, he added.
About 82% of the eligible population have received the first dose of the vaccine while 43% have been fully inoculated in India as of now.
The worrying statistic is that over 12 crore people are overdue for their second dose of the vaccine.