Consider Booster Doses For People Above 40: India’s Genome Sequencing Consortium
New Delhi: An Indian consortium has recommended considering the administration of a booster dose of coronavirus vaccines to people above 40 years of age.
The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, responsible for monitoring genome sequencing of coronavirus cases in India, made the recommendation in its weekly bulletin on November 29, three days before it confirmed the first cases of the Omicron variant in India.
“Vaccination of all remaining unvaccinated at-risk people and consideration of a booster dose for those 40 years of age and over, first targeting the most high-risk/high-exposure may be considered, since low levels of neutralising anti-bodies from current vaccines are unlikely to be sufficient to neutralise Omicron, although risk of severe disease is still likely to be reduced,” the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) said, The Hindu reported.
The recommendation reflects the World Health Organization’s stance about first inoculating unvaccinated people and then considering booster doses based on evidence, said Anurag Agrawal, a member of INSACOG.
“The INSACOG isn’t an advisory body,” he was quoted as saying. “The evidence right now about potential immune escape, vaccination breakthroughs and possible booster need, is all that we have conveyed. In a few more weeks we’ll have better information on whether Omicron is linked to increased disease severity.”
On Thursday, Joint Secretary in the Union health ministry Lav Agarwal said that while the scientific rationale for booster doses was still under examination, the priority was to ensure complete inoculation of the eligible population with both doses, PTI reported.
“…This is the strategy which will give us the best dividend,” Agarwal said.