• The DG’s statement comes at a time when NTAGI is scheduled to meet the top Central immunisation panel at end of November to discuss booster vaccines
  • The booster vaccines have been a significant issue with Rajasthan CM asking the Centre to give it a nod
  • However, the Union health minister has commented that the Centre cannot make a decision on the issue alone, without ICMR consideration

On Monday, Dr Balram Bhargava, the head of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) claimed that no scientific evidence of booster dose being a shield against Covid-19 has been found. Bhargava has stated, “Administering the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine to all adult population and ensuring that not only India but the entire world gets vaccinated, is the priority of the government for now.” The Director-General (DG) of ICMR has further said, “More so, there is no scientific evidence so far to support the need for a booster vaccine dose against Covid-19.”

Bhargav has given his statement at a time when the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and the top-notch team on immunisation formed by the Centre are scheduled to meet. According to reports, the meeting will be conducted at the end of November, where a number of issues including booster shots and vaccination for children will come forth.

The booster vaccines have been among the central issues of discussion in current times. The Union government was requested by Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot to give a nod to the vaccines. According to Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, “The Centre cannot take a direct decision in such a matter. When the ICMR says that booster shots should be given, we will consider it then. At present, the aim is to complete full vaccination of the target population. Once that is done, a decision on boosters will be taken. We have enough stocks available.”

The government records have portrayed, at least 82% of the entire population have taken their first Covid-19 vaccine doses, whereas, 43% are fully inoculated. The vaccination drive which began earlier on January 16 has been successful in administering an average number of 1.17 vaccine doses.


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