No consensus in panel on Covid-19 booster shot due to gaps in post vaccination data

It was earlier hinted that the committee would advise the government on allowing additional shots for the vulnerable population apart from vaccination for adolescents and kids.

Published: 08th December 2021 04:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2021 08:45 AM   |  A+A-

A health worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a beneficiary at K R Market, amid possible threat for spread of Omicron variant of COVID-19

A health worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a beneficiary at K R Market, amid possible threat for spread of Omicron variant of COVID-19. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Gaps in crucial large-scale post vaccination data may be delaying a decision on the need of booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for the Indian population, it has emerged.

An expert panel which met on Monday to discuss the introduction of booster doses has deferred coming up with conclusive recommendations to the government.

It was earlier hinted that the committee would advise the government on allowing additional shots for the vulnerable population apart from vaccination for adolescents and kids.

Top sources associated with the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization told this daily there was no consensus as there is no large population based statistics on waning antibody levels after vaccination or on the duration of protection offered by the vaccines.

A senior member of NTAGI, who did not want to be named, said that while nearly 128 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in India so far and two crore cases have been recorded since April, there is no data that synthesizes hospitalization, age and vaccination status. 

“There are only limited studies on a few thousand people by the ICMR’s National Institute of Epidemiology from a few hospitals, and frontline workers such as Tamil Nadu Police and Punjab Police,” the NTAGI member said.

Another source said it was stressed that granular post-vaccination data from India is critical because global studies are less.

Also the epidemic course, such as number of waves, and the vaccines used in other countries are different from those in India.

Samiran Panda, the chief epidemiologist with ICMR and a member of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19, insisted that from a purely scientific perspective, it makes more sense to focus on covering over 80 per cent of the adult population with full vaccination first before anything else.

SII may cut production

New Delhi: With not enough orders for Covishield from the Centre, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said the company is looking at slashing monthly production of vaccines by at least 50 per cent. SII has written to the government to seek clarity on its requirement, if any, for normal two doses in the country and also on booster doses, he said. 

Positive despite three jabs

Bhopal: A German researcher has tested Covid positive in Jabalpur of Madhya Pradesh. The researcher with a woman colleague arrived in Jabalpur on Sunday to attend the wedding of a colleague. While his Rapid Antigen Test sample tested negative, the RT-PCR tested positive. The researcher and his colleague have taken three jabs, said an official.



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