Policy on booster, additional jabs in 2 weeks: NTAGI chief
India's COVID-19 task force chief Dr. NK Arora said a comprehensive policy on the booster and additional COVID-19 vaccine jabs will be announced in two weeks. The policy prepared by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) will define who will require these doses, when and how, Dr. Arora said. The NTAGI has also prepared a "comprehensive" plan to vaccinate children, he said.
Why does it matter?
- Dr. Arora's comments come at a time when the Omicron variant of coronavirus has triggered global alarm.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has also flagged Omicron as a variant of concern (VOC).
- With the variant's emergence, many European countries are considering mandatory booster jabs.
- Booster and additional doses will ensure increased protection from the virus.
What are booster and additional vaccine doses?
In the context of two-dose COVID-19 vaccines available in India, booster doses is what is given in a predefined period after two primary doses, Dr. Arora told ANI. An additional dose is administered to those people with immune dysfunction despite complete vaccination. With Omicron, the relevance and effectiveness of the prevalent vaccines would "become apparent with time only," he said.
'Plan to vaccinate children to be revealed soon'
Dr. Arora said a "comprehensive plan" to vaccinate India's 44 crore-strong under-18 population has been developed and will be made public soon. All children will be vaccinated, but children with co-morbidities will be given "priority," he said. "ZyCoV-D, COVAXIN, Corbevax, and then mRNA vaccines are available for children," he said, assuring that vaccines will be available in sufficient quantity.
India reports 8K+ new infections; 236 deaths
Meanwhile, India on Monday reported 8,309 new COVID-19 cases, with 236 fresh fatalities. The active caseload stands at 1.03 lakh, the lowest in 544 days. Active cases now account for just 0.30% of the total cases. India's recovery rate was recorded at 98.34%, the highest since March 2020. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 1.09%, below 2% for the last 56 days.
Nearly 10K more patients discharged
According to the Union Health Ministry, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases reached 3,45,80,832 till Monday morning. The death toll reached 4,68,790. With 9,905 fresh discharges, India's recoveries stand at 3,40,08,183. The weekly positivity rate remained under 1% for the last 15 days at 0.85%.
COVID-19 cases in states
Maharashtra reported 832 new COVID-19 cases along with 841 more recoveries. Kerala, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 4,350 new cases and 5,691 discharges. The third worst-hit Karnataka added 315 new cases and 236 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 736 new cases and 772 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 178 new cases and 190 recoveries.