Govt looking into issue of Covid vaccine booster dose

Govt looking into issue of Covid-19 vaccine booster dose

Paul also noted that the WHO has called for a moratorium on booster doses

A health worker inoculates a man with the dose of Covaxin vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus during a vaccination camp held in Ahmedabad on August 8, 2021. Credit: AFP Photo

Amid an increasing trend of reproduction number in some states, the national expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination has discussed the issue of giving booster vaccine dose and it is being looked into very deeply, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said on Tuesday.

He said 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.

Responding to a question on the need for giving booster Covid-19 vaccine dose, Paul said at a press briefing that the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) held a discussion on the booster dose issue at its last meeting.

"I would say we are watching the science for the need for such imperative very carefully, global work as well as you may know that certain studies in the country are being instituted and we are looking at it very deeply.

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"As you know, WHO has called for a moratorium for booster doses so let us watch this and see how it can be taken forward," he said.

He also stressed that people should get the second dose of the vaccine for complete protection.

"Those with comorbidities or who are getting treatment for cancer, they should especially make sure that they are vaccinated," he said.

Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said, "Even if we take the vaccine, we need to keep taking necessary precautions. "

The central government on Tuesday said that 37 districts across nine states, including 11 districts in Kerala and seven in Tamil Nadu, are showing a rising trend in the average daily new Covid-19 cases over the last two weeks even as the corresponding nationwide figure continues to register a decline.

At a press briefing on the pandemic, officials said the reproduction number or R number that indicates the speed at which Covid-19 is spreading is more than 1 in five states -- Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh -- which remains a cause for concern.