No plan yet on booster shots for all, say officials
If the central government does allow booster doses for all adults, and not just to health and front line workers and senior citizens with comorbidities, the eligible people will continue to be tracked through the government’s CoWIN portal, officials said.
India does not have immediate plans to allow Covid-19 booster vaccine doses to all adults and will hold off immunising children between five and 15 years of age till there’s authoritative scientific evidence, officials involved in pandemic management said.
If the central government does allow booster doses for all adults, and not just to health and front line workers and senior citizens with comorbidities, the eligible people will continue to be tracked through the government’s CoWIN portal, they said.
“Our top focus is to ensure full coverage of people in the 15-18 years category. We have 80% coverage for the first dose in this category, and 17% for the second dose,” a central government official involved in Covid-19 management said on condition of anonymity.
“In the coming days, we plan to improve the vaccine coverage in this category and also among the adults.”
There’s no scientific data or guidance by the World Health Organization that says a booster dose for all adults is necessary, the official said.
While the US and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has recommended booster dose for all adults, Canada will give booster shots of mRNA vaccines only for those who are immuno-compromised.
India has administered a total of 172.81 crore doses of vaccines as on February 13. This includes 90 crore first doses and 73 crore second doses to the adult population. For adolescents between 15-18 years of age, 5.2 crore first dose and 1.5 second doses have been administered.
There is no immediate plan to open up booster doses for the entire adult population, officials said.
“But if and when it is done, the government will track each vaccine dose and the inoculation process will be covered through the CoWIN app,” said another official, also declining to be named.
“It’s not that anyone can buy off the shelf and administer the vaccine.”
Similarly, there is still no clear scientific data or a suggestion from WHO to inoculate children against Covid-19, the officials said.
An administrator pointed out that the US drug regulator has deferred a plan to vaccinate children between 6 months and 4 years for at least two months and sought more data.