Huge third wave of COVID-19 unlikely in India: AIIMS chief
A severe third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to occur, said Dr. Randeep Guleria, the Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences-Delhi. He added that booster doses of the coronavirus vaccine are not needed in India as yet adding the focus should instead be on increasing vaccination coverage. Here are more details on this.
Why does this story matter?
There have been concerns over a third wave for months now. India has already seen two waves of the pandemic, the second of which occurred earlier this year and claimed the lives of tens of thousands. However, experts have maintained that a high sero-positivity and a significant vaccination coverage will help control the severity of any fresh wave of infections.
Chances of a huge wave 'declining each day'
"As our vaccination program is moving forward, as we are seeing low vaccine hesitancy and as we are seeing the vaccines are holding out - in terms of preventing severe disease and preventing hospitalization and death - the chance of any huge wave is declining with each passing day," Dr. Guleria said. "It is very unlikely that we will see a huge third wave."
'Booster dose not required as of now'
"The vaccines are holding up, we are not seeing breakthrough infections causing a surge in our admissions, our sero-positivity rate is very high. All of these suggest that as of now, we really don't need a booster dose," Dr. Guleria said on Tuesday evening. He added the concern should be "getting more and more people to get the first and second dose."
What is India's take on booster shots?
India has so far remained non-committal on the issue of booster doses. Several countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, have started administering additional shots as research suggests immunity wanes over time. However, the issue is controversial as many poor countries are still grappling with low vaccination coverage. Reports say India will prepare a plan on the matter within the next two weeks.
India's vaccination program
Since beginning its vaccination program in January, India has administered more than 118 crore doses. Some 81% of the country's adults have received at least one vaccine dose while 43% have taken both the doses. The Indian government has set a target of fully vaccinating the nation's nearly 94 crore adult population by the end of this year.