AIIMS Chief Says COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters May Be Necessary in One Year's Time

Booster shots, he says, shall not depend on antibodies but on the duration since a person received the second dose.

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<div class="paragraphs"><p>Photo used for representational purposes only.&nbsp;</p></div>

It might be essential to provide booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine in a year's time, Dr Randeep Guleria, the chief of Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), told NDTV on Saturday, 23 October.

While emphasising that the need for booster shots depends on the duration of protection provided by two doses of the vaccine against severe COVID-19, Guleria also said that he was confident that a vaccine for children would be rolled out in the near future.

Vaccines for children, he said, should be prioritised those who belong to "high-risk groups", that is, those with comorbidities, because "healthy children usually have milder infections and can be vaccinated subsequently."

On booster shots, he said there is no definite answer on the timeline for booster shots, because the criteria to their necessity is not antibodies, but the time period since a person received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

We can't decide to give booster shots based on antibodies... it has to be based on time - i.e., how long has it been since you got the second dose. Normally after a year we can start looking at booster shots," he told NDTV.

Guleria also stressed on the need for data, citing the United Kingdom (UK) as an example.

He argued that the the current COVID-19 situation in the UK is leading to higher number of cases, not hospitalisations, which means that the immunity effects of the vaccines inoculated a year ago are still present.

But if the virus experiences yet another mutation, then boosters are inevitable.

Reiterating that that there were no "clear-cut plans" at the moment, he insisted on three keys to long-term success in the fight against the virus – vaccinations, COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, and the identification of virus hotpots and locking them down to curtail the spread.

Previously, Guleria had remarked that India's achievement of vaccinating 1 billion people proved that the vaccine was safe and also said that it would provide confidence to the rest of the Indians to get inoculated, ANI reported.

(With inputs from NDTV and ANI.)

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