December 8, 2022

ntagi: Covid-19: Boosters will be untimely now, says expert | India News – Times of India

PUNE: Epidemiologist Dr JP Mulayil, member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI), on Tuesday said booster dose against Covid-19 in the current time would be untimely, two days after another NTAGI member told TOI that benefits of a third shot might not merit expansion of the coverage to all age groups.
“Boosters in the current time will not achieve any specific outcome. Unvaccinated should get vaccinated, rather than shifting focus on booster shots. It can be reserved for a future emergency,” said Dr Mulayil. He said a third dose for all would not help in preventing the spread of the Omicron. “One is not sure about the future variants and if these boosters will be helpful for all of them,”he said.
NTAGI for Covid-19 and the WHO had a high-level meet on Tuesday, where the issue of boosters was discussed in detail.
“Boosters have not helped the cases in any country that has administered the third dose. Besides, we shall not blindly follow what other countries have done. We have to look at our local epidemiology and science, and our decisions have to be based on that assessment,” a senior health official had told TOI.
However, “precaution doses” would continue to be administered to healthcare workers and those above 60 years with comorbidities under the government’s national immunisation programme as per the existing policy, the official said.
Well-known epidemiologist Dr Chandrakant Lahariya told TOI that currently the country did not need to be in a hurry for booster doses for the entire adult population.
“With rising infection of the Omicron variant, a large section of the population has got the infection. It has resulted in additional protection definitely and so, there is no hurry to administer the third dose at all,” he said.
Dr Lahariya said there was not enough data to understand if the third dose of vaccines being used in India had additional benefit in the current scenario. “Those affected by Omicron can very well wait for their shot,” he said.
Leading virologist and NTAGI member Dr Gagandeep Kang told TOI that older individuals and those with comorbidities who had not been infected would need boosters.

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