Do Indians need to take a Covid-19 booster vaccine now? Hear from the top expert!

Armed with a handful of Covid-19 vaccines from diverse makers, India has been nearing its deadline, fixed by the Union government, of vaccinating the country's larger populace within this December. India recently had a breakthrough of achieving 100 crore vaccinations amid the prevalence of reluctance among the people to receive the vaccines.

While there has been a global sense and debate over whether or not to take the Covid-19 booster vaccines, India has preferred to stay off from unfolding the campaign for booster vaccines now. On Monday -November 22, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava has said that there is no scientific evidence so far to support the need for a booster vaccine dose against the pandemic.

He highlighted the Himalayan task of completion of the second dose for India's adult population as the top priority for the government now. Speaking to PTI, Bhargava said, "Administering the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine to all adult population and ensuring that not only India but the entire world gets vaccinated is the priority of the government now." 

"There is no scientific evidence so far to support the need for a booster vaccine dose against Covid-19", he added. The officials have quoted that 82% of the eligible population in India have received the first dose of the vaccine while around 43% have been completely vaccinated. According to the Union Health Ministry, India has administered 116.87 crore vaccine doses so far as of Monday morning at 7 am. India currently has an active caseload of 1,18,443 while the death toll has increased to 4,65,911. 

On the front of administering the booster doses, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has recently said that adequate stocks are available and the aim is to complete the vaccination of the target population with two doses. He said that after completing the second dose vaccination, a decision on the booster dose would be taken based on the recommendations from the experts. 

By citing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has depended on expert opinion on vaccine research and approval, Mandaviya has stated that the government cannot take a direct decision in such a crucial matter and the government will consider administering the booster vaccine when the ICMR and the expert team suggest giving the booster. It has been reported that the matter of booster dose will be discussed in the next meeting of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India.