Third dose of vaccine not needed in India yet: AIIMS chief on booster shots
Randeep Guleria, the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, said on Tuesday said that no booster dose for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is required in the country right now. Hailing the ongoing nationwide vaccination drive against the infectious disease, Guleria also acknowledged how India has come a long way in vaccine manufacturing – from importing shots to now taking the lead in exporting doses to other countries.
“There is no surge of Covid-19 cases as of now,” the ANI news agency quoted Guleria, who was speaking at a book launch event. “So, there is no need for a booster dose in India for now.”
The book, titled ‘Going Viral’, has been authored by Professor Balram Bhargava, and it captures the first-hand experiences of scientists who developed Covaxin, India's first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine.
Guleria, who was present at the book launch event as a special guest, said, “When H1N1 had hit India, vaccines were imported from foreign countries. From importing vaccines to manufacturing our own indigenous vaccine, we have come a long way. Today, our Covid-19 vaccines are being exported to other countries.”
VK Paul, a member of NITI Aayog also present at the book launch event, added that a decision on the ‘third dose' (booster shot), if necessary, will be decided based on science and studies are currently ongoing on this matter.
“There are studies being done,” he was quoted as saying. “We are going through the data and research work is in progress.”
One should understand, for many countries, booster doses are provided when the country vaccinates citizens with both doses to their fullest. First, let us focus on finishing the task of vaccinating people with both doses. I believe that booster doses should be administered when the studies based on science say so," he added.
Speaking on the current situation of Covid-19 in the country, Paul warned that the pandemic is not over yet and will not likely be over in the near future. “It might become an endemic instead of a pandemic, or could be a pandemic in a pandemic,” he said. “The virus might take a different shape but India is ready to deal with the situation. We are in a better situation now.”
(With inputs from agencies)