A comprehensive guideline on any additional vaccinations for vulnerable populations in India was being drawn up by the Covid Task Force over the next two weeks said Dr.N K Arora who heads the Task Force. The policy would be formulated by the National Technical Advisory Group on vaccinations Dr.Arora told NDTV.
Vulnerable populations like the elderly and immunocompromised would be covered by the new policy. However Dr.Arora cautioned against rushing to provide booster shots for Indians as many had still not completed the first two doses of the vaccine. Pointing out that some 15 crore Indians had still not received their first dose while 30 crore still have not received a second dose, Dr.Arora said that authorising booster shots would mean an additional 94 crore doses of the vaccine which 'could not be done overnight' in such a situation.
A separate policy was being drawn up for the children of the country with a priority list in the world that would see children with comorbidities vaccinated first he revealed. There was no shortage of vaccines in India as of now, Dr.Arora assured.
It was important to consider India's epidemiological status which was different from Europe or America, the chief of the COVID Task Force said. New studies were being conducted across the country in order to assess the impact of India's vaccine pool and how effective they were in neutralising the virus. This was especially important in the current situation as the Omicron variant had emerged as a possible threat, Dr. Arora said.
Dr.Samiran Panda, head of Epidemiology at the Indian Council of Medical Research had told reporters yesterday that it was highly possible that Omicron had entered India and it was only a matter of time before it was detected.