Vaccine think-tank NTAGI to discuss early administration of booster dose to those travelling abroad
New Delhi, May 03: The NTAGI will discuss on Wednesday whether to allow early administration of the precaution dose of COVID-19 vaccine to those travelling abroad for education, employment, sporting events and business commitments.
The advisory panel is also likely to deliberate on reducing the gap between the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the precaution dose from the current nine months to six months for all, official sources told PTI on Monday.
"Taking into account the scientific evidence and findings of the studies done here and internationally, some experts are of the view that the gap can be reduced from the current nine months to six months for all," an official source said.
"Besides, the (health) ministry has received several representations seeking allowing for administration of precaution dose of Covid vaccine for those who have to urgently travel for employment, taking admission in foreign educational institutions, participating in sports tournaments, in bilateral, multilateral meetings as part of India's official delegation or for attending business commitments," the source said.
The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) may also review the data of COVID-19 vaccines for the 5-12 age group.
"The members of NTAGI Standing Technical Sub-Committee (STSC) had briefly discussed the issue of reducing the gap between the second dose and the booster to six months on Friday but no decision could be reached," the official source said.
Studies at the Indian Council of Medical Research and other international research institutions have suggested that antibody level wanes after around six months after the primary vaccination with both doses and giving a booster increases the immune response, official sources said.
Those above the age of 18 year who have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose are eligible for the precaution dose.
The final decision will be taken based on the recommendations by the NTAGI which is set to meet on Wednesday.
India began administering precaution doses of the vaccines to the healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10 this year.
The comorbidity clause for making all people aged above 60 eligible for the precaution dose of Covid vaccine was removed.
India on April 10 began administering precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all aged above 18 years at private vaccination centres.