Head of India's premier health institute disapproves COVID-19 booster dose in India

A top Indian health expert has said there was no need of COVID-19 booster doses in India at the moment.

Randeep Guleria, director of India's premier health institute All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, said the focus needs to be switched to increasing vaccine coverage.

"The vaccines are holding up, we are not seeing breakthrough infections causing a surge in our admissions, and our sero-positivity rate is very high," Guleria said.

"All of these suggest that as of now, we really don't need a booster dose. We may need it in the future ... but as of now we don't need a booster dose," Guleria said.

The Indian health expert noted that the focus should be on having more people get the first and second dose of vaccines.

Guleria was speaking Tuesday evening at a launch ceremony of a book that shared first-hand experiences of scientists who worked to develop India's first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine.

Guleria said the possibility of a "huge third wave" in the country is "declining each passing day".

Indian government said last week that it has provided 1.29 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to states in the country, of which over 216.5 million jabs remained unutilized.

The health ministry said that the federal government was committed to expanding India's vaccine coverage to the far ends of the country.

The nationwide COVID-19 vaccination started on Jan. 16 for people above 18 years.

Government data showed that until Wednesday morning, over 1.18 billion vaccinations have been administered. 

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