Amid concerns of the new COVID-19 variant 'Omicron', Dr NK Arora, chairman of the COVID-19 task force said that a comprehensive policy on the booster and additional doses of the vaccine will be announced in two weeks.
Arora also added that a plan has been developed to vaccinate over 44 crore children.
"National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is coming up with a comprehensive policy on the booster and additional doses in the next two weeks. The policy will deal with who will require the vaccine, when and how. This needs to be seen in the context that a new variant is coming and with time only we will get to know more information about it. Therefore relevance and effectiveness of the current vaccines will also become apparent with time," Arora was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Further, Arora explained the difference between a booster dose and an additional dose.
“A booster dose is given in a predefined period after two primary doses. Whereas, an additional dose is only given to those people who have problems with their immune function even after the primary doses. If a person's immune function is not appropriately built you give them an additional dose. So these are two different things."
In regards to children’s immunisation against COVID, Dr Arora said, "As I have repeatedly been saying that children are our most important asset and we have developed a comprehensive plan for immunising over 44 crore children below the age of 18 years. A prioritisation process is also being built so that children with co-morbidities will be given priority and healthy children will be vaccinated.”
He added, “The plan will be made public very soon. ZyCoV-D, Covaxin, Corbevax and then mRNA vaccine are available for children and I will say it again that vaccines will be available in sufficient quantity for children also."
The World Health Organization on 26 November declared the Omicron strain of COVID-19 a "variant of concern". It was first reported in Botswana on 11 November, and detected again on 15 November in South Africa.
(With inputs from ANI.)
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