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No scientific evidence in country underlines need for Covid-19 booster dose: ICMR's Dr Samiran Panda
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  • No scientific evidence in country underlines need for Covid-19 booster dose: ICMR's Dr Samiran Panda

No scientific evidence in country underlines need for Covid-19 booster dose: ICMR's Dr Samiran Panda

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NEW DELHI: Many experts have recommended booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in India, especially for those with comorbidities or healthcare workers as they have already received both doses.
But according to the government sources, the Centre is right now focusing on maximum coverage of full vaccination under the 'Har Ghar Dastak' program.
Dr Samiran Panda who is the head of the Epidemiology and Infectious diseases division at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that right now the scientific evidence from within the country does not underline the need for a booster dose.
Speaking to ANI, Dr Panda said, "The Ministry of Health gets guided by scientific evidence and also advised by NTAGI. These are advisory bodies and considered by the Ministry and the respective departments to develop a policy. So, policy formulation and decisions are based on scientific evidence. Right now the scientific evidence from within the country does not underline the need for a booster dose. Public health considerations are on the priority now."
"If you ask me, the need of the hour is to attain 80 per cent coverage or more among the individuals with 2 doses of vaccine. Reaching out to over 80 per cent of eligible individuals is public health priority now," he said.
He also stressed focusing on the vaccination program rather than on the booster dose.
"Discussing the booster dose doesn't make sense because there are people who are you know, in hesitation to come forward for the second day thinking that So, if we discuss the booster to return to we are actually leaving the programme halfway," he added.
Dr Tamorish Kole, President of Asian Society for Emergency Medicine (ASEM), said, "When we are talking about the third dose, we must prioritise with the low level of immunity, immune-compromised such as cancer patients and patients who received an organ transplant and give them the booster dose first. So, I will urge the government to prioritise the frontline workers to give the third dose."
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