A medic sorts vials of COVID-19 vaccines at a government vaccination centre in Bengaluru, November 30, 2021. Photo: PTI/Shailendra Bhojak
New Delhi: The government is likely to soon reduce the gap between the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines and the booster or “precaution” dose from the current nine months to six months, official sources said on Wednesday.
A recommendation on lessening the gap is expected to be made by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) which is set to hold a meeting on April 29, they told PTI.
Studies at ICMR and other international research institutions have suggested that antibody level wanes after about six months from the primary vaccination with both doses and giving a booster increases the immune response.
All those above the age of 18 who have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose are eligible for the precaution dose.
“Taking into account the scientific evidence and findings of the studies done here and internationally, the gap between the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the precaution dose will most likely be reduced from the current nine months to six months soon. A final decision will be taken based on the recommendations by the NTAGI which is set to meet on Friday,” a source in the know of the developments told PTI.
India began administering precaution doses of vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10.
The government removed the comorbidity clause making all people aged above 60 eligible for the precaution dose in March.
According to health ministry data, 5,17,547 precaution doses have been administered in age group 18-59 years so far.
Besides, 4736567 healthcare workers, 7,44,7184 frontline workers and 1,45,45,595 individuals aged 60 and above have taken the precaution shot.
India on April 10 began administering precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all aged above 18 years at private vaccination centres.