AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria on Tuesday said that a third COVID wave of a magnitude comparable to the first two is unlikely to hit India. He said there is no need for a booster dose as for now as the absence of surge in cases at the moment shows that vaccines are still protecting against the virus.
Speaking at the launch of a book “Going Viral: Making of Covaxin – The Inside Story”, authored by ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava, Guleria said the chances of any vast wave with large admissions is decreasing with each passing day as the vaccines are holding up in terms of preventing severity and hospital admission.
“It is unlikely that the third wave of COVID-19 of a magnitude comparable to the first and second will hit India. With time the pandemic will take an endemic form. We’ll continue to get cases but the severity will be highly reduced,” he said.
On the need for a booster dose, he said there is no spike in cases as such at the current moment which suggests that vaccines are still protecting against COVID-19. “Therefore there is no need for a vaccine booster dose or third dose for now.” While the decision on a third dose should be based on science, said NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul.
Underlining the achievement of second dose for India’s adult population and those who have not taken vaccine making them take it is the priority for the government currently, he said, “There are studies being done on boosters we are going through datas and research. This is work in progress.”
Bhargava, who spoke about book, published by Rupa, at length, said there is no scientific evidence so far to support the need for a booster vaccine dose against COVID-19. Taking about India’s fight against COVID-19, he said there was clarity and sincerity in the work of scientists, the government and people in the last one and half years.
There have been learnings from the pandemic for people and government which includes strengthening health facilities and developing a robust system of surveillance, he added. “We have to be watchful and careful of all the viruses in the world in this world of quick mobility.”
“Media’s role was crucial in ensuring that the reporting around the virus and the vaccine was honest and diligent. It ensured that people had zero hesitancy towards the vaccine,” Bhargava said.