Covid-19 Vaccine Matters: Focus shifts to booster shots

Covid-19 Vaccine Matters: Focus shifts to booster shots as jab supply pipeline smoothens

Amid fears of a possible third Covid-19 wave, India expects to get about 26 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses in August

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has also reportedly given its nod to Bharat Biotech to conduct a study on mixing Covaxin and its own intranasal vaccine to evaluate the immunogenicity and efficacy.  Credit: AFP Photo

In a major development, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulator on Thursday authorised an extra dose of Covid-19 vaccine for people with weakened immune systems, as the country struggles to thwart the Delta variant. It authorised the emergency use of a third injection of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Back in India, the national expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination is also looking into the issue of giving booster vaccine dose as many states are witnessing trend of increase in reproduction number. NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said on it must be taken as a work in progress as science is still emerging in this area. At the same time, Paul also noted that the WHO has called for a moratorium on booster doses.

Covid-19 cases in India have been plateauing around 40,000 cases a day but many districts in states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been witnessing a rising trend in the average daily new Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks. 

India saw a single-day rise of 40,120 coronavirus infections, taking the tally of Covid cases to 3,21,17,826, while the recovery rate increased to 97.46 per cent, the highest recorded so far, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated Friday. The death toll, meanwhile, climbed to 4,30,254 with 585 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.

What caused panic among parents was as many as 499 children testing positive for Covid-19 during the first ten days of August in Bengaluru. Though 10-15 per cent of fresh Covid cases reported in the last 20 days are children aged between one and 19, BBMP officials played down the impact of the third wave primarily targeting children.

Amid fears of a possible third Covid-19 wave, India expects to get about 26 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses in August as a simpler licensing process has helped the government secure far more doses than earlier expected, BJP president J P Nadda said on Friday. Nadda, who was the health minister in Modi's first term, said India's vaccine supply will reach 26.65 crore doses in August, 26.1 crore in September, 28.2 crore in October, 28.2 crore in November and 28.5 crore doses in December.

With the vaccine supply pipeline plan in place, the government has given its nod to Christian Medical College, Vellore, to launch a mix-and-match clinical trial involving Covishield and Covaxin in order to find out whether a single dose of two vaccines could be combined for an effective protection against the Covid-19 epidemic.

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has also reportedly given its nod to Bharat Biotech to conduct a study on mixing Covaxin and its own intranasal vaccine to evaluate the immunogenicity and efficacy.  

On Thursday, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya met WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan and held discussions over the global health body's approval for Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin. A top vaccines official at the World Health Organisation says the agency expects to make a decision next month on an emergency authorisation for Covacix, which is yet to be authorised by any Western regulatory authorities.

A new study has debunked a myth on vaccines affecting one's chances to get pregnant. Medical experts say there's no biological reason the shots would affect fertility. And real-world evidence offers more assurance for anyone worried about their chances of conceiving. In Pfizer's study, a similar number of women became pregnant in the group given the vaccine as in the group given dummy shots.