With more mutations of the Covid-19 coronavirus likely to emerge in the near future, India may need to adopt a booster dose with second-generation Covid vaccines, according to AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria.
“It appears that we probably need the booster dose because immunity tends to wane with time,” Dr. Guleria said in an interview with a news agency. We’d like to have the booster dose that protects against emerging variants as well.”
“Second-generation vaccines will be better in terms of the immunity they provide against emerging variants and overall efficacy,” the AIIMS director said. Booster vaccine shots are currently being tested. The next step will be to administer a booster dose once the entire population has been vaccinated.”
Dr. Guleria also predicted that Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin trials for children, which are currently underway with results expected in September, would pave the way for children’s vaccines. He pointed out that when Zydus Cadila applied for emergency use authorization, it included data for children in its vaccine data.Children’s vaccines should be available in the coming weeks or by September, he said. “After vaccinating the students, we should start schools in a graded manner, as we have been doing for the 18-45-year population,” he said.
“There could be multiple reasons for the delay,” the AIIMS chief said of the vaccine shortage, despite the Indian government holding talks with vaccine manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer. Two or three things, in my opinion, should be kept in mind. The first is collaboration and agreement on doses with the government. We know the companies have pre-booked orders from many countries and are required to provide vaccines to those countries, so they must have extra doses to give us. They won’t be able to spare doses for countries like India unless these obligations are met.”
India has been in talks with the two companies about issues such as indemnity waivers. Dr. V K Paul, a member of the NITI Aayog’s health committee, previously stated that India was attempting to resolve contractual and commitment issues with the two companies.