Indian experts studying scientific reports on need for Covid booster dose, says govt

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 30, 2021, 07:18 PM(IST)

Rapid antigen testing drive for COVID-19 at railway station in Ahmedabad Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 are deliberating and considering scientific evidence for the need and justification for a booster dose

Expert groups in India are deliberating on the need for a booster, or additional, Covid dose, the country’s junior health minister informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

The health minister's response comes in the backdrop of growing fears on the possibility of Omicron variant entering the country. So far, no Covid cases of the new strain have been reported in India.

Union minister of state for health Bharati Pravin Pawar said the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) are deliberating and considering scientific evidence for the need and justification for a booster dose.

Also read | Netherlands detected Omicron cases a week earlier than South Africa: Dutch authorities

Responding to a query on the stand of the Indian government on booster doses, Pawar in a written reply said some countries are providing booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

“The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) are deliberating and considering scientific evidences related to dose schedule of COVID vaccines as well as the need and justification for booster dose,” she said.

Also read | Will Covishield work against Omicron? It will be clear in 2-3 weeks, says Serum Institute’s Poonawalla

There are over 36 countries who are currently administering booster shots to the people. The World Health Organisation (WHO) expert panel has also recommended that individuals with weaker immune systems should be offered an additional or booster shot of COVID-19 vaccine.

However, the Indian government has so far not indicated the need for a booster shot. In October, the government's chief Covid-19 advisor had said that there were no plans to give booster doses.

Doctor Vinod K Paul said there was no clear guidance on whether a third dose is necessary, including from the WHO.

“As of now we do not have a recommendation for a booster bump-up dose,” Paul told reporters, adding however that the government would “continue to watch this space very carefully”.

(With inputs from agencies)

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