India is examining scientific data to take a call on its booster dose policy and lowering of the Covid-19 vaccination age threshold to 12 years and above.
The Centre on Friday said it was closely examining scientific data. “We would be governed by science and scientific evidence in deciding on the need and timing for an additional dose,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Friday.
This comes a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) told wealthy countries they “cannot boost their way out of the pandemic” and accused them of worsening vaccine inequality. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the rush in richer nations to roll out additional Covid doses was deepening the inequity in access to jabs that is prolonging the pandemic. The UN agency noted that vulnerable people in poorer nations were deprived of even a single jab even as richer countries roll out broad booster programmes.
India is in a bind as it vaccinated its healthcare and frontline workers in January-February this year and experts have now raised the question of declining immunity of vaccines. “Great discussion is going on on both these aspects. A Covid working group has debated on it several times. We are reviewing all the scientific data from the world as well as from India, which includes information about T cell, antibody response. How long it persists, taking all those into consideration and we shall be formulating our policy,” said Balram Bhargava, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research.