Appropriateness or necessity of Covid-19 booster dose yet to be decided: Centre to Delhi HC

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The Centre on Monday told the Delhi High Court that at present there are no guidelines regarding the administration of booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the country’s top expert bodies.

The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) are deliberating and considering scientific evidences related to dose schedule of Covid-19 vaccines as well as the need and justification of booster doses, the government submitted.

The current priority of National Covid-19 Vaccination Program is to cover the entire eligible population with full vaccination and at present there are no guidelines regarding administration of booster doses from the two expert bodies, it added.

“The current knowledge about duration of immunity offered by Covid-19 vaccines in India is limited and will clearly be known over a period of time only,” the Centre further said.

The government’s response comes after the Hight Court, last month, asked the Centre to submit a timeline of the proposed rollout of booster doses, if a booster was considered necessary.

The Indian Express has earlier reported that there is preliminary consensus in the country’s top technical advisory body on Covid-19 vaccination — NTAGI — that the third dose, when administered, should be of a vaccine based on a platform different from that of the first two doses.

However, the final decision on recommending a booster shot—being given by several countries to shore up waning vaccine-induced immunity from infection with the coronavirus — is yet to be taken. Last week, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya told the Lok Sabha that India’s booster dose policy will not be a political decision but would only be on the basis of approval from two expert bodies.

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