We’ll be denying someone right to first dose by allowing others booster shots: Randeep Guleria

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NEW DELHI, Sept 27: Expressing reservations about the feasibility of booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines, AIIMS New Delhi Director Randeep Guleria said on Monday that the prospective lacks scientific evidence, adding that its applicability may snatch a person’s right to the first dose.
“There is no supportive data to evaluate the efficacy of booster shots,” he said.
“The is no need for it (booster doses). The subject lacks enough scientific data to support its efficacy among the population. Besides, by giving the booster shots, we will be denying someone his/her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine,” Guleria added.
The top doctor also suggested that the “current focus should be on vaccinating the eligible population with both doses.”
The waning immunity levels against the COVID-19 disease have made the doctors and public health experts feel the need for the booster shots, especially to those who are working on the frontline were the first to receive their jabs when the nationwide COVID-19 immunisation drive was rolled out in January this year.
The approval for the third dose in the United States has also provided merit to the subject. Last week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, country’s nodal public health agency, approved the boosters for certain groups who have already received two doses of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine.
US President Joe Biden in his White House address said , around 20 million Americans are eligible for boosters now. Those above 65 years of age and those below 65 but with comorbid conditions are eligible for the third dose there.
Meanwhile, Guleria also weighed on another topic of interest–COVID-19 vaccination for children. The AIIMS director said that children do not require vaccination against the viral illness.
“The severity and mortality for the COVID-19 are negligible among children. The vaccination is needed only for the high-risk groups. By and large, children do not form a high-risk group,” he explained.
However, he further said that certain subgroups among children should be prioritized to receive COVID vaccines.
“Children with risk factors such as underlying conditions or those on chemotherapy and patients of organ transplant should be prioritized,” he added.
The top doctor also weighed on the mix and match of COVID-19 vaccines, whose trial is underway at Christian Medical College, Vellore. Guleria said that the cocktail shots could address the shortage of doses in the long run of nationwide immunisation drive against Coronavirus,
“Mixing of different COVID-19 vaccines is better, in the long run, to tackle the shortage of doses if a situation arrives where we will not have enough doses of a particular vaccine for full immunisation,” he said.
The trial was permitted by the drug regulatory authority in August to conduct the Phase-4 clinical trial covering over 300 healthy volunteers for mixing of COVID-19 vaccines Covaxin and Covishield.
The study aims to assess whether a person could receive two different vaccine shots — one each of Covishield and Covaxin — to complete the vaccination course. (Agencies)