Have To Wait For NTAGI Policy Defining Eligibility Criteria For Covid-19 Booster Shot, Says Director Health

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the debate over administration of booster dose/third dose of the Covid vaccine, a top Odisha government health official asked people to wait for the policy document defining eligibility criteria for booster doses to be released shortly by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).

“Two to three days back, Dr NK Arora, chairperson of NTAGI has said that NTAGI will be coming out with a policy document defining eligibility criteria for booster doses soon. So we have to wait for it and act as per the policy,” said Dr Bijay Mohapatra, Director of Health Services (DHS) responding to queries from reporters on whether booster doses of Covid vaccine will be required for beneficiaries in Odisha.

Explaining the issue, Dr Mohapatra said that there is varying opinion whether it will be called the third dose or the booster dose because booster dose is usually administered six months after the first dose. There are also submissions that third dose or booster dose is not required for all, he added.

In the case of polio, DPT etc we have detailed guidelines on everything right from vaccination to booster but since Covid vaccine is a new vaccine we have to wait for the policy document of the NTAGI, the Director of Health Services clarified.

Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended that Covid-19 booster shots should be offered to moderately and severely immunocompromised people.

The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) in October recommended that such people should receive a third dose of a vaccine on the WHO Emergency Use Listing (UEL) as they are “less likely to respond adequately to vaccination following a standard primary vaccine series and are at high risk of severe Covid-19 disease.

Since the end of September, several Covid-19 vaccines have been certified by the WHO UEL, including Pfizer-BioNTech, Janssen, Moderna, Sinopharm, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, and Covishield.