Updated: December 15, 2021 8:30:39 am
The Centre on Tuesday told Delhi High Court that the current priority of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme is to cover the entire eligible population with two vaccine doses and there are no guidelines on administering booster dose from the two expert panels, as its appropriateness or necessity is to be decided.
In response to last month’s court order on booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare told the court that the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 are considering scientific evidence related to the vaccine dose schedule as well as the need and justification of booster doses.
“The current knowledge about duration of immunity offered by Covid-19 vaccines in India is limited and will clearly be known over a period of time only,” the government stated in its reply. “The epidemic of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the resulting disease has impacted India since 2020 as a new infectious disease, complete biological characteristics of which are yet unknown and under such circumstances the appropriateness or necessity of booster dose of Covid vaccine is yet to be decided.”
On November 25, the division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh had said that the decision on administering booster doses should not be based on economics and directed the Centre to apprise it on need for administration of booster dose. The court had also sought the timeline within which this is proposed to be rolled-out, if it is considering necessary.
The court had asked why shots to boost waning immune response were not being made available in India when other countries such as the United States and those in Europe were permitting and encouraging such inoculation.
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