No scientific evidence to support the need for booster dose: ICMR chief

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Indian Council of Medical Sciences (ICMR) Director Dr. Balram Bhargava said on Monday that there is no scientific evidence to support the need to give a booster dose (ie the third dose) of the anti-Covid-19 vaccine. He also said that the priority of the government is to give the second dose of vaccine to the adult population for the time being.

According to sources, the booster dose can be discussed in the next meeting of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization in India (NTAGI).

Bhargava told PTI-Bhasha, “The priority of the government at the moment is to give a second dose of vaccine to the entire adult population and ensure vaccination not only in India but all over the world.”

“At the same time, there is no scientific evidence to support the need for a booster dose against Kovid,” he said.

On the possibility of administering booster doses, Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had recently said that sufficient stock of vaccines is available and the target is to provide both doses of vaccine to the population. He had said that a decision on the booster dose would be taken based on the recommendation of experts.

The minister had said, “The government cannot take a direct decision in such a matter. When the Indian Council of Medical Research and the expert team say that a booster dose should be given, then we will consider it.”

He had also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always depended on expert opinion, whether it is vaccine research, manufacturing or approval.

According to officials, about 82 percent of the eligible population in India has received the first dose of the vaccine, while about 43 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

According to provisional data till 7 am, a total of more than 116.87 crore doses of anti-Covid vaccine have been given in the country.

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