Policy on booster, additional Covid-19 vaccine doses in 2 weeks: Dr NK Arora

Policy on booster, additional Covid-19 vaccine doses in 2 weeks: Dr NK Arora
© Provided by Hindustan Times Many countries across the world are administering booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine, including the US, Germany, Austria, Canada and France among others. (HT file photo)

As experts have been pushing for a booster dose amid omicron fears, the chairman of India’s Covid-19 task force on Monday said that a comprehensive policy on additional and booster doses will be made public in the next two weeks by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) of India.

“The policy will deal with who will require the vaccine, when and how. This needs to be seen in the context that a new variant is coming and with time only we will get to know more information about it. Therefore relevance and effectiveness of the current vaccines will also become apparent with time only,” news agency ANI quoted Arora as saying on Monday.

Arora also explained the difference between a booster dose and an additional shot. “A booster dose is given in a predefined period after two primary doses. Whereas, an additional dose is only given to those people who have problems with their immune function even after the primary doses. If a person’s immune function is not appropriately built you give them an additional dose. So these are two different things,” he added.

The doctor also said, “a comprehensive plan for immunising 44 crore children below the age of 18 years will be made public soon.” Arora added that children with comorbidities will be prioritised and vaccinated first, followed by healthy children.

His remarks came when health experts across the world are scrambling to study the new variant of Covid-19 that was first detected in South Africa’s Botswana on November 11, 2021. It has been declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation.

On Saturday, a senior doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Delhi, said booster shots will need to be administered in the coming days and immediate studies must be commenced to ascertain its effectiveness on various age groups.

Many countries across the world are administering booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine, including the US, Germany, Austria, Canada and France among others. A booster dose is administered to a vaccinated person when the rate of immunity in them has dropped below the required levels over a period of time.

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