Booster shots for India? Not yet, say experts: Report

A large majority have become infected naturally, and two doses are sufficient for them, a source said. (file)

New Delhi:

India is yet to authorize booster COVID-19 doses as many people in the country have become naturally infected and the government believes that two doses of a vaccine will provide enough protection for now. , said three sources with knowledge of the matter.

As the supply of the vaccine has increased, some doctors and public health experts in India have urged the government to launch a booster program for the most vulnerable as in many Western countries.

But officials will instead focus on completing two-dose vaccinations by January before focusing on major expansion in exports to most of India’s 944 million adults, said sources involved in vaccine-policy discussions. .

So far, 81 percent of adults in India have received at least one dose while 43 percent have taken two. Vaccination has not yet started for people under the age of 18.

“The priority is to completely immunize the adult population,” said a source. The sources declined to be named as the matter was still being discussed by policy makers.

“A large majority are naturally infected, and two doses are enough for them. So we are seeing that the cases are not increasing even after the recent festivals.”

The source said once most adults have received two vaccine doses, the government may make the booster optional.

The health ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

India recorded the highest number of COVID-19 case and death figures in the world in April and May, and government surveys showed that by July, nearly 70 per cent of Indians were naturally infected. The country has so far had 34.5 million infections – the most after the United States – with more than 465,000 deaths.

Although India celebrated its two biggest festivals, Diwali and Durga Puja, in October and November, the transition has fallen to a several-month low.

Many Western countries are expanding their booster programs, even for those with no compromised immunity – a policy that has been heavily criticized by the World Health Organization.

Indian vaccine companies such as Serum Institute of India, which makes licensed versions of the AstraZeneca and Novavax shots, expect the government to allow boosters sometime early next year.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories says it is in talks with India’s drug regulator to sell Russia’s Sputnik Light as a booster dose.

Indian states had more than 216 million vaccine doses in stock as of early Monday. India’s vaccine production has more than tripled since April to nearly 300 million doses in a month.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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