COVID-19: Focus should be on vaccinating more people, booster doses can wait, says AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria

New Delhi: The Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) believes that India should now focus on vaccinating as many people as possible to curb the spread of COVID-19 and the idea of booster doses can wait. The AIIMS chief also suggested that importance should be given to high-risk groups and booster doses can wait for now.

During a virtual programme organized by Integrated Health and Wellbeing Council, Dr. Guleria said, “I think we should focus on vaccinating those who have not been vaccinated till now, especially the high-risk group. Still many healthcare workers, many elderly and those with comorbidities have not been vaccinated, and they are the ones who have a chance of having more severe disease and dying because of COVID-19.”

The AIIMS chief also added that a Sero Survey suggested that there may not be as many coronavirus cases in a likely third COVID-19 wave if vaccinations continue in strength. Till now the country has administered over 61 crore COVID-19 vaccines.

“My feeling is that if we are able to continue to have good vaccination and looking at the serosurvey data, chances are that we may not have that many cases in the third wave,” he said.

The AIIMS chief went on to emphasise that instead of exploring the idea of booster doses if the focus is on giving vaccines to those who will benefit from it, “we may be able to save lives.”

“So I think the issue should be to vaccinate as many individuals as possible, rather than going in for three shots, four shots and trying different things, I think, let’s stick to what we know right now, and focus on vaccinating as many people as we can,” Dr Guleria said.

Dr Guleria also stated that the experts do not have enough available to show the need for booster dose right now in the country. “I don’t think we have enough data to show that there is a need for booster right now, remember antibodies are not the only way of giving protection,” he said.

(With ANI inputs)

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