COVID-19 booster dose not main priority now: Govt

Covid-hit Africa yearns for Indian medicines, vaccines
Representative image: IANS

New Delhi: The government on Thursday said the COVID-19 booster shot is not the central theme in scientific discussion as well as in the public health domain at the moment and getting the two doses remain the main priority.

Responding to a question at a press briefing, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said administering both doses is absolutely essential and there should be no breakage in that.

"We need to remember one thing very clearly that booster dose is not the central theme at the moment in the scientific discussion as well as in the public health domain. Getting the two doses remains the major priority," Bhargava said.

"Several agencies have recommended that antibody levels should not be measured...but the important understanding is that full vaccination of both the doses is absolutely essential and there should be no breakage in that," he said.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said 20 per cent of India's adult population have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine and 62 per cent have got at least one dose.

Also, 99 per cent of the healthcare workers have received the first dose while 82 per cent of the eligible healthcare workers have taken the second dose.

Bhushan further said that 100 per cent of the frontline workers have been administered the first dose while 78 per cent of them have been given the second dose.

So far, all adult people in five states and union territories -- Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep -- have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

According to data, the average daily doses administered in a month has increased from 19.69 lakh in May to 39.89 lakh in June, then further to 43.41 lakh in July and to 59.19 lakh in August.

The average daily vaccination in the first 15 days of September has been 74.40 lakh per day, Bhushan said.

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