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Govt policy on booster shots likely in coming weeks: Dr NK Arora

Govt policy on booster shots likely in coming weeks: Dr NK Arora

Arora told the news site that it is essential to assess how the vaccines fare against the variant. He added that the epidemiological condition of the country needs to be taken into account.

Booster vaccine shots likely Booster vaccine shots likely

As the threat of Omicron looms, the government is looking to draw up a policy for COVID-19 booster doses. Chairman of the Covid Task Force Dr NK Arora said that a policy for additional doses for immunocompromised people will be drawn up in the next two weeks. The policy will be formulated by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, along with a policy to vaccinate the country’s 44 crore children.

Arora said that the prioritisation process is in progress and children with comorbidities will be prioritised, according to an interview with NDTV. 

For the booster dose, Arora said that an additional dose for 94 crore people cannot be done overnight. He, however, said that there is no shortage of doses in the country. He added that with 12-15 crore still to receive their first dose, the priority is their vaccination.

Arora told the news site that it is essential to assess how the vaccines fare against the variant. He added that the epidemiological condition of the country needs to be taken into account.

Indian labs are working on the effectiveness of the immune response elicited by Covaxin, Covishield and other homegrown vaccines against the new variant and the extent of virus neutralisation, he said.

The Omicron variant surfaced in South Africa, but there is no confirmation of its origin. Botswana, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel, UK, Italy, Australia, Germany and Denmark have all reported cases of Omicron. No cases have been reported in India so far.

Experts are still trying to find out how deadly Omicron is. However, a report by the Deutsche Bank reasons that even if it does prove to be "less deadly",  it could still outweigh due to a rise in "transmissibility", resulting in more overall hospitalisations and deaths.

Also read: Omicron variant: How deadly is the South African Covid-19 strain; will existing vaccines work? All you need to know