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NTAGI, NEGVAC considering scientific evidence for booster shots: Centre

The Centre has told the Delhi High Court that the National Technical Advisory Group of Immunization (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) are deliberating and considering scientific evidence related to the dosing schedule of COVID-19 vaccines as well as the need and justification of booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

In an affidavit filed by Central government Standing Counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, the government informed the Delhi High Court that the NTAGI and NEGVAC are deliberating and considering scientific evidence related to the dosing schedule of COVID-19 vaccines as well as the need and justification of booster doses.

Centre apprised the Court that the NTAGI and NEGVAC are two expert bodies working in tandem to guide the National COVID-19 vaccination program.

NTAGI examines the technical aspects like usage of different varieties of COVID-19 vaccines, the interval between vaccine doses, contraindications, etc., and recommends the same to NEGVAC. NEGVAC in turn provides overall guidance and recommendations on all aspects of COVID- 19 vaccination to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Centre submitted that the current knowledge about the duration of immunity offered by COVID-19 vaccines in India is limited and will clearly be known over a period of time only.

Centre further submitted that the epidemic of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the resulting disease has impacted India since 2020 as a new infectious disease, complete biological characteristics of which are yet unknown, and under such circumstances, the appropriateness or necessity of booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine is yet to be decided.

The Centre further submitted that the current priority of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Program is to cover the entire eligible population with full vaccination (i.e’ two doses) and at present, there are no guidelines regarding the administration of booster doses from the two expert bodies.

The Centre response came on an affidavit filed in response to the Court’s query on the aspects of the administration of booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine necessary or not and the timeline within which the same is proposed to be rolled out.

The High Court had asked the Centre to file a reply on the aspects relating to the booster disease of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Court remark had come while observing growing advocacy of booster dose in the West. Delhi High Court was hearing various issues concerning to COVID-19 crisis. ANI

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