The need for a second booster dose of Covid vaccine is not on the agenda of the government as of now, official sources said on Tuesday amid renewed concerns about the viral infections in view of surge in some countries.
A fourth Covid shot is unwarranted at the moment as most people in the country are yet to receive their third dose, they said.
Also, there is no data available on the utility of a second booster for the currently used vaccines, the sources said.
India began administering a precautionary or booster dose in January 2022 and till now only 28 per cent of the eligible population have taken it.
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”The need for a second booster dose of Covid vaccines is not on the agenda of the government as of now nor are discussion over it underway. Most importantly, majority of the population are yet to receive a third dose and those who are due for it should take it,” an official source said.
Countries such as the US and the UK are administering third and fourth booster doses to fully vaccinated individuals as well as extra shots to the immunocompromised who did not have a strong immune response from their initial doses.
Indian Medical Association (IMA) representatives and senior doctors in a meeting on December 26 urged Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to consider the fourth dose for healthcare and frontline workers.
The meeting came against the backdrop of rising cases globally, especially in China, Japan, South Korea, and Thailand.
”Healthcare professionals are exposed to a larger number of coronavirus infected patients resulting in repeated exposure to the virus which can trigger more infections among the healthcare community,” former IMA president Dr J A Jayalal had said.
”To counter that, they need augmented immunity against the virus,” he argued.
Amid a spike in Covid cases in some countries, the Union Health Ministry has sounded an alert, tightened Covid guidelines and asked states and Union territories to prepare for any eventuality. It has also urged them to increase coverage of the precaution dose.