Demand for booster dose raises as Omicron detected in India

Published on : 10:21 PM Dec 03, 2021

In a conversation with ETV Bharat, Indian Medical Association secretary general Dr Jayesh M Lele said that demand for a booster dose is already high in India.

New Delhi: At a time when demand for a booster dose of Covid19 vaccine gained momentum following the detection of Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus, Indian Medical Association (IMA) has reiterated that booster dose is very much necessary for the front line health workers and people with comorbidities.

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Taking to ETV Bharat, IMA secretary general Dr Jayesh M Lele said that demand for a booster dose is already there in India. "We have already appealed to the government for a booster dose to the needy including front line healthcare workers and people with comorbidities," said Dr Lele.

He admitted that the demand for such a booster dose may scale up following the detection of the Variant of Concern (VoC) - Omicron. "Scientific evidence found till date suggest that Omicron is not severe but it has more capacity to infect people," said Dr Lele. Advertisement

However, Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya informed in the Parliament that decision on booster dose may be considered after scientific advise.

He said that vaccination of kids may also be considered after scientific advice.

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Mandaviya said that 16,000 passengers from 'at-risk' countries tested for Covid and 18 found positive. "Genomic sequencing of samples for Omicron variants are underway," the health minister added.

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Sequencing Consortium (INSACOG) has also recommended to the government for consideration of a booster dose for those 40 years of age and above, "first targeting the most high risk and high exposure may be considered."

"Since low levels of neutralising antibodies from current vaccines are unlikely to be sufficient to neutralise Omicron, although risk of severe disease is still likely to be reduced," the INSACOG said.

Meanwhile, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter issued to chief secretaries and administrator of States and UTs suggested to be extra vigilant in enforcing public health measures to contain spread of Omicron.

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"Current evidence which is still evolving suggests increased transmissibility of this VoC. We must, therefore, be extra vigilant in enforcing public health measures," said Bhushan in his letter.

He said that the fliers coming from abroad must be followed up through the surveillance mechanism and tested as per the guidelines of international travel.

"Contact tracing of all positive persons will remain the key in stopping the spread. All contacts of a positive person must be traced, quarantined and tested within 72 hours," Bhushan said.

The health secretary said that some cluster of infections have been reported from some places in the country. "Active surveillance and testing is the key in detection of such clusters and hotspots," Bhushan said in his letter.

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