There is a global need to focus on expanding primary Covid vaccination coverage before booster doses, World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on Friday.
“There is more than enough evidence now to show that the currently used vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness and death due to Covid-19. We need to focus on expanding primary vaccination coverage before boosters, worldwide,” she said on social media.
However, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts to the WHO said on Monday that people with weaker immune systems should receive an additional shot of approved Covid-19 vaccines. The recommendation came after a four-day meeting of the SAGE on immunisation. The WHO said that the final report on booster dose will be issued in December.
The SAGE said that moderately and severely immunocompromised persons should be offered an additional dose of all WHO-approved vaccines, adding that these individuals are less likely to respond adequately to vaccination, following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe Covid infection.
Meanwhile, the top priority for India is to administer full vaccination of two doses across the nation, say officials.
Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Balram Bhargava, in a recent press conference, said that booster doses is not a “central theme” at the moment.
“The booster dose is not a central theme in scientific discussion and public health discussion at the moment,” he said, noting that several agencies have recommended that antibody level should not be measured because one can have antibody, cellular immunity, antibody immunity and that persists, so the important understanding is that two doses of complete vaccinations is only essential.