On HTLS, immunologist Akiko Iwasaki explains when to take booster shot amid looming omicron threat

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HTLS 2021: The Centre has issued an advisory after looking at the spread of omicron variant globally and is keeping a close watch at ports, Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya said today, adding genome sequencing of suspected cases is also being done.

Immunologist Akiko Iwasaki has suggested reducing the time-gap between taking the second dose of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine and booster shot in the wake of fast-spreading omicron variant.

“Looking at new variants like omicron, I think there is a need to look at the possibility of administering booster shots earlier than the six-month gap after the second dose,” Iwasaki said on Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS).

Full Coverage: HTLS 2021

Speaking to Sanchita Sharma, Iwasaki also said that long Covid is a serious problem which is being reported in in 10-30% of survivors.

Iwasaki emphasized on the need to get vaccinated, saying it is the only proven way to stop the spread of the infection.

“There is still not a universal definition of long Covid but males are at higher risk in case of long and serious Covid,” she said.

Cases of omicron variant have been reported in at least 14 countries, Union health minster Mansukh Mandaviya announced in Parliament on Tuesday.

The Centre has issued an advisory after looking at the developments globally and is keeping a close watch at ports, he said, adding genome sequencing of suspected cases is also being done.

No case of the variant has beenr reported in India, but the central government has already issued revised guidelines, directing states to tighten the screening of all the arriving international passengers.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level virtual meeting with states and UTs to review Covid-19 public health response measures and preparedness.

States were asked to send all positive samples for genome sequencing to INSACOG Labs (mapped with states) promptly and that states should undertake contact tracing of positive individuals and follow up for 14 days, the statement said.

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