The outbreak of Covid in China, the US and Japan has prompted the Center to ask countries to increase vigilance. The images from China are truly alarming and tragic. The country messed up its Covid strategy with a Covid-free approach. But there is no room for complacency in India. The Omicron variant of the virus may have occurred naturally in the Indian population, and we may have a better vaccine than the Chinese have. But the problem is that we have not done well with the booster program and there is no certainty about the impact of the newer mutations.
In addition, boosters do not appear to be available in most hospitals anymore, suggesting that vaccine production has slowed as consumption is discouraged. Bharat Biotech has appealed the inclusion of the nasal drop vaccine in the Cowin portal because it was approved for emergency use as a heterogeneous booster after passing safety and immunity ability. This must be expedited so that people can have access to a vaccine other than Covishield and Corbevax.
Countries like the US have also updated their vaccines for newer variants. Several countries have approved a fifth dose of the vaccine. India may want to consider another preventive dose for those most at risk. With the economy working again, we can’t have another disruption. The center must order large quantities of booster doses immediately.
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