Covid boosters for 18-60 age group mooted

Covid boosters for 18-60 age group mooted
Posted 19 Jan 2022 | Source:

Bengaluru: While the State is seeing a rise in the Covid- 19 hospitalisations, mainly among the unvaccinated, the health experts are debating whether it is time to administer a third dose for those in the age group of 18-60 years.

Dr U.S. Vishal Rao, Associate Dean, Centre for Academics and Research, HCG Cancer Hospital said, “We should make the third booster dose for 18-60 age group as optional (if not mandatory) and it is the need of the hour to remind the immune system.”

“Globally, national regulatory authorities have issued emergency use authorizations for nearly 22 Covid-19 vaccines; US FDA and CDC, UK - NHS and EU Health have all opened booster after six months for 18 years and above. The mix and match of booster injections helps and not harms the immune system,” he added.

Rao said those in the 18-60 age groups are most socially and economically active, and a booster dose will reduced the burden on health workers. “Health being a state subject it may be worthwhile for states to consider this and set up a better ceiling for protection of people’s health. The flooring for two doses set up by the central government is now strong enough, and should make way for state governments to consider setting up a stronger bench mark,” he added.Dr Jagadish Hiremath, Chairman at Aasra Hospital said, “In the West we have already seen how large number of cases were reported and still has been continuing. With India having much larger population compared to those countries, the chances of having a large number of cases are high. In such a case offering booster doses to everyone aged between 18 and 60 years will help. Now that the vaccine hesitancy has also diminished, it will be easier to persuade people to take booster doses with adequate public education.”

“Although weekend lockdowns and night lockdowns are being imposed, the number of cases being reported has still continued to rise. This is because people are seen gathering in large numbers despite strict rules. Vaccination helps keeping people safe from infection. Also, vaccination is a more economical tool to curb infection so that public can continue with their normal activities,” he added.

Interestingly, the Union Ministry has conveyed the Supreme Court that Covid-19 vaccination is not mandatory and they have not made the certificate mandatory at any place of businesses. This has now led to medical experts saying it an ‘optional but not mandatory’ with clauses on health safety that they are advising if all shots of vaccines have been taken.

Dr Swati Rajagopal, Consultant - Infectious Disease & Travel Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital said, “Vaccines are always a voluntary exercise. No vaccine can be imposed on any individual. Having said this, looking at the risk versus benefit of the Covid-19 vaccine, all individuals should volunteer and go ahead with the booster shot as and when it is rolled out. Vaccination reduces the severity of infection, complications, and reduces hospitalisation and death. The intent of the booster shot is to give protection, as the vaccine-related immunity fades over time.”