Booster Shots Are Not Central Theme, Both Doses Of Covid Vaccination Still Priority: Govt

New Delhi: Amid reports and speculations about a possible booster shot of Coronavirus vaccine, the Health Ministry on Thursday said that getting the entire population inoculated by both doses of the jab is government’s first priority at the moment. 

Addressing a press conference earlier in the day, India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director Balram Bhargava said administering both the doses is absolutely essential and there should be no breakage in that.

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“We need to remember one thing very clearly that booster dose is not the central theme at the moment in the scientific discussion as well as in the public health domain. Getting the two doses remains the major priority,” news agency PTI quoted Bhargava as saying. 

“Several agencies have recommended that antibody levels should not be measured, but the important understanding is that full vaccination of both the doses is absolutely essential and there should be no breakage in that,” he said.

So far 20 percent of India’s adult population have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine and 62 percent have got at least one dose.

Government data shows that all adult people in five states and union territories — Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep — have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Average daily doses administered in a month have increased from 19.69 lakh in May to 39.89 lakh in June, then further to 43.41 lakh in July and to 59.19 lakh in August, Health Ministry data revealed. 

Average daily vaccination in the first 15 days of September has been 74.40 lakh per day. 

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Countries such as US, Israel, Italy, France, and Russia have already started booster vaccines. US has started booster doses for immunocompromised people and is expected to soon roll out Covid booster vaccines for all its citizens.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization (WHO) has called for an extension of a global moratorium on Covid-19 booster doses, with an aim to enable every country to vaccinate at least 40 per cent of its population.

WHO called for such a moratorium as several countries including India had been deliberating whether there’s a need for a booster jab against the fast-spreading Delta variant.

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