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Booster dose is not yet under consideration, says ICMR chief

A booster dose of Covaxin is still at the scientific ideation stage as it is still not very clearly known how long the immunity provided by vaccination lasts, even though antibodies are seen to persist for seven to 12 months in infected people, said Balram Bhargava, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday.

The jury is still out on how long the the vaccination-mediated immunity lasts, said Bhargava, adding that the scientists who just completed the phase 3 trials of ZydCoV, the DNA vaccine developed by Zydus Cadila, will also follow up this fact.

With the Delta Plus variant lurking around, there are talks of giving booster doses to people, but Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, at the Health Ministry, made it amply clear that it was not on the mind of the government, which is more keen to provide the first and second doses of vaccine to members of priority groups identified.

Bhargava said though the second wave has come down in most States, some are still in the midst of the second wave.

Agarwal said there are 73 districts in the country that are reporting a test positivity rate of over 10 per cent – half of them in the north-east. Apart from 18 districts of Arunachal Pradesh and nine districts of Manipur, six districts of Meghalaya, four districts of Tripura and Sikkim, too, have a test positivity rate of more than 10 per cent. Elsewhere in the country, 10 districts of Rajasthan and seven districts of Kerala, too, have test positivity rate of more than 10 per cent.

According to a survey carried out in April involving 33,000 respondents showed that 69 per cent of people were not compliant in wearing masks properly, 87 per cent in social distancing and 83 per cent were seen reluctant in following Covid appropriate behaviour while travelling.

Meanwhile, India reported 34,703 new Covid cases, which is the lowest in 111 days in the last 24 hours till Tuesday morning. During the same period, 51,864 patients recovered, bringing down the number of active cases to 4,64,357, according to the data released by Health Ministry on Tuesday.

Death toll
As many as 553 people succumbed to their infection during the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll due to Covid-19 to 4,03,281. More than 6.47 lakh Covid-19 tests were carried out during the same period taking the total number of tests so far to 42.14 crore.

Per information available on the CoWIN dashboard, over 34 lakh vaccinations were carried out across the country on Tuesday till 8.00 pm. Uttar Pradesh administered over 9.14 lakh vaccine doses, followed by Maharashtra (3.79 lakh) and Odish (2.96 lakh). The Hindu BusinessLine