Does India need booster Covid jabs? Dr Randeep Guleria, the AIIMS Chief, on Tuesday, answered this question in a measured ‘no’. Dr Guleria said that there is no need for a booster jab for the already vaccinated population in India as of now. However, he added that booster jabs may be required in future. But within the present circumstances, Indians don’t need booster Covid jabs for the moment. On the pressing issue of the third wave of coronavirus infections in the country, Dr Guleria said that the intensity won’t be similar to that of the first and second time the contagion spiked in India.
Instead of booster jabs, India should focus on increasing the vaccination coverage, Dr Guleria was quoted as saying by the Indian Express. In his assessment, there are three factors that are helping India at the moment – these are: vaccines are proving their efficacy, the rate of breakthrough cases is not significant and the seropositivity rate is high across India. Indians are ‘well-protected’ at the moment, Dr Guleria added. He said that if a large chunk of the population gets both first and second doses, India may not need additional doses of coronavirus vaccines. Dr Guleria made these comments during the launch of the book titled ‘Going Viral’ by ICMR DG Dr Balram Bhargava. The book shows the journey of the making of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
Dr VK Paul, Niti Aayog member and head of Covid taskforce, was also present at the event. He also said that the question and rollout of booster Covid dose need additional study. Important issues such as the duration of the booster jabs need to be dealt with. At present, India has two types of vaccines to fight against coronavirus. This number will go up in the near future. In such a scenario, the booster dose for each vaccine will differ. A holistic approach is required before a policy decision on booster jabs is taken, Dr Paul said. He also added that the question of booster jabs only come when a large percentage of the population is fully vaccinated. India has not reached that stage yet.