Many experts have recommended booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in India, especially for those with comorbidities or healthcare workers as they have already received both doses. The Centre is right now focusing on maximum coverage of full vaccination under the 'Har Ghar Dastak' program.

What

  1. Dr Samiran Panda who is the head of the Epidemiology and Infectious diseases division at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that right now the scientific evidence from within the country does not underline the need for a booster dose.
  2. The Ministry of Health gets guided by scientific evidence and also advised by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).
  3. These are advisory bodies and considered by the Ministry and the respective departments to develop a policy.
  4. So, policy formulation and decisions are based on scientific evidence. Right now the scientific evidence from within the country does not underline the need for a booster dose. Public health considerations are on the priority now.
  5. Discussing the booster dose doesn't make sense because there are people who are, you know, in hesitation to come forward for the second day thinking that, if we discuss the booster to return to, we are actually leaving the programme halfway.

Flashback

  1. Booster dosesare administered to a vaccinated population that has completed a primary vaccination series (currently one or two doses of COVID-19 vaccine depending on the product) when, with time, the immunity and clinical protection has fallen below a rate deemed sufficient in that population.
  2. The objective of a booster dose is to restore vaccine effectiveness from that deemed no longer sufficient.