Germany announces 4th booster dose, Britain may follow - Here's what Indian government is planning

S7 News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a review meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the country on Thursday evening amid rising concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

London: Hot on the heels of Israel, Germany has announced the roll out of a fourth Covid booster to tackle the new vaccine evading Omicron variant of coronavirus. Britain is also mulling for the fourth dose, as cases mount.

The country has ordered millions of new doses of an omicron-specific vaccine on order from BioNTech. However, delivery is not expected to take place until April or May.

Germany reported 45,659 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, 5,642 fewer than a week ago, while the death toll rose by 510.

Following the lead of Germany and Israel, the United Kingsdom's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is also considering the rollout of a second set of boosters.

The experts at JCVI will weigh up the levels of immunity granted by the extra jab as well as hospitalisation figures, The Telegraph reported.

While people with weakened immune systems are already entitled to a fourth job, this may be extended to the elderly and other vulnerable groups. The fourth jab would likely come four months after the third if it gets the green light and could be available in the new year, the report said.

The UK reported more than 100,000 new daily infections for the first time on Wednesday.

Here's what the Indian government is up to:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a review meeting on the COVID-19 situation in the country on Thursday evening amid rising concerns over the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Official sources said Modi will take stock of the pandemic situation across the country. India has recorded 236 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus across 16 states and UTs so far out of which 104 people have recovered or migrated, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.

In a communication to the states and Union Territories on Tuesday, the Centre said the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is at least thrice more transmissible than its Delta variant and asked them to "activate" war rooms, keep analysing even small trends and surges and keep taking strict and prompt containment action at the district and local levels. There have been demands that the government allow booster doses of vaccines to be administered to those already fully inoculated against COVID-19, as has been done by many countries.

Covid vaccine booster dose requirement, timing will be based on scientific decision: Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul

The requirement, timing and nature of COVID vaccine booster doses will be based on scientific decisions according to Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog on Wednesday.

Speaking to ANI, Dr Paul said, "The Union Health Minister has said in the parliament that the need, timing and nature of boosting will be based on scientific decisions and thinking that is what the government is engaged with." Asked about the severity of the emerging COVID variant, he said, "COVID always comes with mild symptoms in the initial stages. We are watching any change in the pattern of the presentation of the emerging cases very carefully."

Dr Paul said that coordinated efforts are being made to ensure the availability and optimization of medical oxygen usage.

"The country has ramped up oxygen production and availability. A lot of efforts have been made across the country including provisioning more than 1,500 PSA plants. Most of them are now functional. In order to improve coordination and facilitation, a comprehensive data system Oxycare has been launched. Things are being monitored regularly. We are prepared for any eventuality," he added.

Vaccination Scenario in India:

India on Thursday achieved a new milestone in the fight against Covid pandemic as over 60 per cent of the total eligible population is now vaccinated with both doses of vaccines, said the government.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya lauded public health workers, medical professionals, and citizens from all across the country for making this feat possible.

"Accomplishing more new feats! Congratulations India," tweeted Mandaviya. In the same tweet, he said, "Aided by public participation & dedicated efforts of our health workers, over 60% of the eligible population fully vaccinated now."

Meanwhile, the country's Covid-19 vaccination coverage has exceeded 139.70 crore with the administration of 70,17,671 vaccine doses in the last 24 hours as per the health ministry provisional reports till 7 a.m. on Thursday. This has been achieved through 1,47,94,783 sessions.

India on Thursday registered 7,495 fresh Covid cases and 434 deaths in a span of 24 hours. With the addition of the new deaths, the total death toll has climbed to 4,78,759.

Meanwhile, the Omicron infection tally has climbed at 236 across the nation. However, out of total Omicron positives, 104 have been discharged. So far 16 states have reported Omicron infection, said the Union health ministry on Thursday.

With Agency Inputs


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