New Delhi : The Omicron scare is taking a hike countrywide and so is demand for the booster doses of COVID19 Vaccine. The country's top genome sequencing body Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), on Saturday expressed the need for 'more scientific experiments' after they favored booster dose of the vaccine for people above 40. The need for scientific experiments arises to assess its impact.
In the latest bulletin of INSACOG, it said that the mention of the booster dose was merely a “discussion about the potential role of additional dose of Covid-19 vaccines in high-risk populations” and the recommendation was not for the India's immunisation programme,
In its previous bulletin dated November 29, the INSACOG had said that a booster dose for those 40 years of age and over, first targeting the most high-risk / high-exposure “may be considered”.
"Many more scientific experiments are needed to assess the impacts of booster dose, which are being guided and monitored by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC),” said the INSACOG.
It also made it clear that the recommendations and suggestions regarding vaccines, schedule, and roll-out came under the expressed mandate of NTAGI and NEGVAC.
INSACOG's statement comes a day after Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya in Lok Sabha at the Parliament's Winter Session kept his point, he said that decision on booster doses and vaccines for kids would be taken on the basis of scientific advice. He said that the focus of the vaccination drive would be to expand the coverage of the second dose.
During the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Covid pandemic, several lawmakers had suggested a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines for the elderly, immunocompromised and health workers who work in high-risk environments.
Notably, NTAGI is expected to meet next week to assess about the need for a booster jab – whether there is adequate data on waning immunity, where the effects of the vaccine wear off over a period of time.
NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul had also said that despite the new challenge of Omicron variant, a full vaccination with two doses remained the most critical tool against Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the INSACOG said that genomic surveillance will be critical for the early detection of the presence of Omicron variant, to enable necessary public health measures.