The Union Health Ministry on Thursday updating on the COVID-19 situation seconded the necessity of booster dose for Covid and said that the priorty is to get the entire eligible population of the country vaccinated fully.
ICMR's DG Dr. Balram Bhargava while a press briefing said, The call of the hour is to give the two-dose vaccination/full vaccination covering the entire adult population. The talk of booster dose is not pertinent at the moment."
he conversation around the booster doses of Covid-19 vaccines gained momentum after US President Joe Biden got himself inoculated with the booster dose, or the third dose, of the Pfizer BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine on Monday. The debate is also doing the rounds in India where a major part of the eligible population has already been inoculated with at least one dose since the beginning of the Covid vaccination drive in January.
However, the Centre today said the matter of booster dose dose is not relevant yet.
The Indian government has, by far, maintained that booster shots of Covid vaccines and the benefit they provide are under purview and study. For the moment, the focus should be on ensuring two doses for every adult in the country, the Centre said.
On the other hand, speaking about the World Health Organisation's nod for emergency use of Covaxin, Dr Bhargav said, all the data has been given on which clearance is given by WHO and the data is being looked at, accordingly the global health body will take a decision.
Reteirating his earlier suggestions again, Dr Bhargav said, "it will be prudent to avoid non-essential travel and observe festivity but at low-key atleast this year."
The Centre had recently issued new Covid guidelines ahead of the festive season.
Meanwhile, Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan also emphasised on following Covid protocols and said, "as festivals are approaching, we appeal to all to avoid crowds, maintain physical distancing and use face mask, celebrate festivals maintaining COVID-19 appropriate behaviour."
Laying down the statistics of the current covid cases in the country, Bhushan said, "Kerala has highest active cases - 1,44,000 which is 52% of total active cases of the country. Maharashtra has 40,000 active cases, Tamil Nadu has 17,000, Mizoram has 16,800, Karnataka has 12,000 & Andhra Pradesh has a little more than 11,000 active cases."
Specifially talking about Kerala, he said, "absolute number of cases is declining in the southern state but it still contributes a substantial number of total cases in the country. "Active cases are going down across the country,cumulative recovery rate rising. Country has a recovery rate of almost 98%," he added.