COVID Vaccine: Discussion On Booster Dose Not A Priority For Govt Right Now
New Delhi: The current focus of India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive is to fully inoculate the adult population against the coronavirus, and not booster doses.
There have been suggestions that the Union government should consider providing booster doses to healthcare workers who were the first to receive the vaccine after the process was rolled out in mid-January.
According to the data of Union Health ministry, 99% of healthcare workers in India have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine while 85% are fully vaccinated till date.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director general Balram Bhargava said that discussion on booster doses was “not pertinent” at this point of time.
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“I think currently I would say that the talk of booster (doses) is not pertinent and I said this last time also. The call of the hour is to give the two-dose vaccination, which we call as full vaccination, covering the entire adult population. That has to be the goal, that is the agenda and that has to be continued,” he said.
There have been some studies in India on the necessity of a booster dose, and the ICMR chief said some of them have shown that most of the antibodies against the disease persist for upto a year.
“We have had some studies in India, including Bengaluru, where they have looked at the antibodies and they have found that antibodies are persisting for much longer. More than 95% of the antibodies persist for upto a year. Therefore the concept of booster dose is not pertinent at the moment,” Bhargava said.
Countries like the US, UK, France and Germany have already announced plans to provide a booster dose for their citizens.
The World Health Organization (WHO), however, has expressed its concerns about global distribution of vaccines. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus even called for a moratorium on providing booster doses for some time.