NTAGI reviewing scientific evidence on justification of Covid-19 booster doses: Centre to Delhi HC

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The NTAGI and NEGVAC are the two expert bodies working in tandem to guide the National Covid-19 vaccination program.

Reported by Richa Banka | Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Expert groups responsible for advising the Centre on immunisation policy are deliberating and considering scientific evidence related to the dosing schedule of Covid-19 vaccines as well as the need and justification of booster doses, the government informed the Delhi high court on Tuesday.

It said that the National Technical Immunization (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) are both analysing the data regarding breakthrough coronavirus infections in India and considering the effectiveness of current vaccines in the pipeline. A decision regarding additional shots or booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine is likely to be taken soon.

The NTAGI and NEGVAC are the two expert bodies working in tandem to guide the National Covid-19 vaccination program. While the NTAGI examines technical aspects like usage of different varieties of Covid-19 vaccines, the interval between vaccine doses, contraindications, and the like, the NEGVAC, in turn, provides overall guidance and recommendations on all aspects of Covid-19 vaccination to the ministry of health and family welfare.

The government also informed the Delhi high court that presently there are no guidelines for administering booster doses to those who are fully vaccinated, adding that the current priority is to cover the entire eligible population with both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“It is humbly submitted that the current knowledge about the duration of immunity offered by Covid-19 vaccines in India is limited and will clearly be known over a period of time only,” the Centre said in an affidavit.

It also told the bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh that since the biological characteristics of Covid-19 are not completely known, the appropriateness and necessity of a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine are yet to be decided.

Earlier, the Delhi high court had asked the Centre to file a reply on the aspects relating to the booster disease of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The court’s remark had come in view of the growing advocacy of booster doses in the Western countries.

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