New Delhi: As the country is getting prepared for the possible threat of COVID third wave, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria on Saturday said India does not have enough data right now on the need for a third COVID-19 vaccine shot, called a booster shot, to increase protection against the coronavirus. He also added that more information in this regard is likely to be available by early next year.Also Read - Gujarat Lockdown: Ahmedabad Bans Unvaccinated People From Using Public Transport From Sept 20
Speaking to NDTV, All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) director Dr Randeep Guleria said further research is needed and it will take some more months. “Information is still emerging. It will take some more months. Possibly by beginning of next year, we will have data on what will be the type of booster shots and who needs it,” the AIIMS chief said. Also Read - International Flights: UK Relaxes Travel Restrictions For Fully Vaccinated Indians From Oct 4
The statement from AIIMS chief comes as several countries, including the US, UK and Israel, are planning on administering booster shots to fight the coronavirus after different studies showed that a third dose of their vaccines led to higher levels of protective antibodies. Also Read - BMC's Latest Sero-Survey Report Finds Over 86% of Mumbai's Population Have COVID-19 Antibodies
However, Dr Guleria said the data in India does not indicate that boosters are needed at present. “I don’t think we have enough data right now to say that a booster shot is needed. Even for elderly and high-risk groups, we do not have enough data. We really need to have data that gives us an idea of the protection levels the vaccines provide,” he said.
He also added that India can take a call on booster shot only after data indicates that the vaccine has reached a waning point.
Earlier this week, the US announced that all American adults will be able to get a booster shot eight months after their last vaccination, citing data indicating diminishing protection from the vaccines over time. The US also said that third COVID shots will be available from September 20 as infections rise from the coronavirus Delta variant.
On the other hand, the UK said it is preparing to offer millions of vulnerable Britons, who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, a booster jab from September.
However, Dr Guleria pointed that India might need a booster shot at some point in time. “Will we need it from vaccines available? Should we look at a new vaccine or the same vaccine? Should we mix the vaccines as a booster? This is the information that is still emerging,” he said.
On August 14, Dr Guleria said that the country might not see a third wave of coronavirus disease but it largely depended on people following Covid Appropriate Behaviour.
Referring to apprehensions that the possible third wave could infect children more, the AIIMS chief pointed out that children would be “more susceptible” because they were not being vaccinated.
“The general feeling is that adults are getting vaccinated, children are not being vaccinated and therefore if there is a new wave it will affect those who are more susceptible. Children will be more susceptible,” he noted.