New Delhi: Amid concerns over the detection of 21 Omicron cases in India so far, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Tuesday urged the government to announce "additional" doses of Covid vaccine for healthcare, frontline workers, and immunocompromised individuals.
Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, the doctor's body claimed that the Omicron variant, which has been labelled as 'Variant of Concern' by the World Health Organisation (WHO), will have high penetrability and will affect more people.
Regarding the detection of Omicron cases in India, the doctors' body hinted that the tally of cases that are in double digits are bound to increase as the cases were reported from a number of major states of India.
Out of these 21 cases, nine have been reported in Rajasthan, eight in Maharashtra, two in Karnataka and one each in Delhi and Gujarat.
The doctor's body also warned of the possibility of a massive third wave if the adequate measures were not taken.
Noting that India has crossed 1.26 billion vaccinations, with over 50 percent of the adult population vaccinated at least with one dose, the IMA said vaccination has proved that it will prevent severe forms of the infection.
"So, if we can altruistically be focused on vaccination, India can overcome the impact of Omicron. IMA earnestly appeals to everyone concerned to take the vaccination as priority agenda and focus attention to reach all the unreached and also ensuring the second dose is given to all the needy
Omicron has proved to be less potent in causing severe infections but definitely five to 10 times more contagious than the Delta variant. Hence, the government and all stakeholders should take proper steps to control the contagion by enhancing immunisation, the IMA stressed in a press release.
The doctor' body did not support the imposition of a travel ban. However, it appealed to everyone to avoid unnecessary travel.
"IMA does not support the imposition of a travel ban. However, we appeal to all to avoid unnecessary travel, especially pleasure tourism and social gatherings. All our public transport system should strictly adhere to code of covid protocol," it said.
Noting that in African countries where the Omicron variant has spread widely, there is a sudden increase in the number of children getting infected and admitted to ICUs, the IMA said, appealing to all schools and colleges to strictly adhere to Covid protocols and ensure all adults there are vaccinated.
The doctor's body also demanded the government to expedite the proposal of vaccinating individuals aged 12 to 18 years.