On Monday, the Centre informed the Delhi High Court that it is discussing the need to administer a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine amid the Omicron scare.
Amid rising concern over the Omicron variant of Coronavirus, the Central government informed the Delhi High Court on Monday that it is discussing the need to administer booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Centre submitted a report In the High Court stating that the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NTAGI) and (National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19) NEGVAC are discussing the need for COVID-19 booster doses. They are deliberating and considering scientific evidence related to booster doses, added Centre.
The Centre also mentioned the epidemic of SARS CoV-2 infection and the resulting disease has impacted India since 2020. The complete biological characteristics of the virus are still unknown and under such circumstances, the effectiveness and necessity of a booster dose of the COVID vaccine are yet to be decided. The current knowledge about the duration of immunity offered by COVID-19 vaccines in India is limited and will clearly be known over a period of time only.
‘Aim to double vaccinate all’: Centre to Delhi HC
The centre further informed the High Court that the current priority of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program is to cover the entire eligible population with full vaccination (i.e. two doses of vaccine). At present, there are no specific guidelines regarding the administration of booster doses from both expert bodies, NTAG and NEGVAC. NEGVAC and NTAGI are two expert groups in the country; One group conducts research on the vaccine and gives its opinion. One group gives advice on when and how to do immunization.
COVID-19 booster dose only after experts’ nod: Centre
While addressing the Lok Sabha session on December 10, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya affirmed that a COVID-19 booster dose policy will be introduced only after scientists approve such a proposal. Maintaining that the Centre’s target is to achieve 100% vaccine doses at the earliest, he reminded the House that 7 crore doses are lying unutilized with states. According to him, India had fared much better as far as the novel coronavirus vaccination is concerned in comparison to many other countries of the world. On this occasion, Mandaviya also weighed in on the effectiveness of the vaccines on the Omicron variant.