INSACOG says booster doses against Covid-19 for people above 40 ‘may be considered’ in view of Omicron

“Vaccination of all remaining unvaccinated at-risk people and consideration of a booster dose for those 40 years of age and over, first targeting the most high-risk / high-exposure may be considered,” INSACOG said.
INSACOG made the recommendation in light of the risks posed by the new B.1.1.529 or the Omicron variant of Covid-19.(AFP)
INSACOG made the recommendation in light of the risks posed by the new B.1.1.529 or the Omicron variant of Covid-19.(AFP)
Updated on Dec 03, 2021 12:20 PM IST
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Written by Srivatsan K C | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Amid the ongoing discussions about the necessity of a booster dose against Covid-19 in the country, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium or the INSACOG in its latest weekly bulletin said that a booster vaccine dose for people above 40 years of age “may be considered” in its first such recommendation.

The body made the recommendation in light of the risks posed by the new B.1.1.529 or the Omicron variant of Covid-19 to the country. It also highlighted the vaccination of all those who are unvaccinated yet and are “at-risk.”

It said that while the antibodies from the current vaccines are unlikely to be sufficient to neutralise the Omicron variant, the risk of severe disease caused due to the variant is likely to be reduced.

Also read | Omicron cases in India: Share plan on booster Covid vaccine dose, Oppn asks govt

“Vaccination of all remaining unvaccinated at-risk people and consideration of a booster dose for those 40 years of age and over, first targeting the most high-risk / high-exposure may be considered, since low levels of neutralising antibodies from current vaccines are unlikely to be sufficient to neutralise Omicron, although risk of severe disease is still likely to be reduced,” the INSACOG said in the bulletin.

The body said that genomic surveillance would be critical for the early detection of the variant and would help in enabling the necessary public health measures.

“Genomic surveillance will be critical for early detection of the presence of this variant, to enable necessary public health measures. Monitoring travel to and from the known affected areas, and contact tracing of COVID-19 cases with an epidemiological link to the affected areas has been implemented along with increased testing,” INSACOG said.

The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), the advisory group to the government on vaccines, had said in late November that a policy on the booster and additional doses of the vaccine could be expected in two weeks.

Earlier on Thursday, two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant were detected in Karnataka. While the patients have not displayed any severe symptoms for the disease, all primary and secondary contacts have been identified and tested for the disease, Union health ministry’s joint secretary Lav Agarwal said.

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Friday, May 20, 2022