Need for Covid booster dose in India under close watch, says Govt
With several countries making giant leaps regarding Covid vaccine's booster dose, India is also closely watching the situation, Niti Aayog (health) member Dr VK Paul said on Tuesday. The issue of booster dose and whether India's vaccination drive will require this has recently been discussed by the national expert group, Dr Paul said.
"We are watching the science for the need for such booster dose. World Health Organization has called for a moratorium. Booster dose and whether there is a need for it and who will need it is a very relevant issue. Let's say it's a work in progress -- in fact, science is a work in progress," Dr Paul said.
A booster dose is a third dose which some countries are seriously considering to increase the protection against Covid infection. Israel has started administering this dose while reports are claiming that unauthorised booster doses are being administered in the United States. France, Germany, Finland are also mulling booster doses.
Why WHO has opposed to booster shots now
The World Health Organization has ethical objection to the third dose of Covid vaccine at a time when some countries have not proceeded beyond the first dose. High-income countries that can now afford to jump into a booster dose represent a very less proportion of the world's population. WHO's call for a halt at present is more for an ethical reason while the medical need for a booster dose is still an issue for debate.
Will Indian need a booster dose? What experts say
As Dr Paul said, the issue is being studied. Many doctors have said that booster doses may be required every year if new strains keep on emerging. AIIMS chief Dr Rabndeep Guleria earlier said that booster shots might be required for emerging variants. But before a booster dose, people should get their first two doses on priority, Dr Paul said.