The Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has recommended providing the Covid-19 booster vaccine for people aged over 40 and falling in the category of ‘risk’ in wake of concerns around the Omicron variant.
On Thursday, the center confirmed two Omicron variant cases in Karnataka. It also pointed out in its bulletin that those who are at high risk of getting infected with the variant as they have low levels of antibodies and those who are still unvaccinated are called for immediate vaccination.
“Vaccination of all remaining unvaccinated at-risk people and consideration of a booster dose for those over 40 years of age first targeting the people at high risk/ high exposure to the variant due to low level of antibodies from current vaccines are unlikely to neutralize the Omicron, although the risk of the severe disease is likely to be reduced by vaccination,” the bulletin said.
Relying on just herd immunity and vaccination may not be sufficient so the recommendation of giving Covid-19 booster was given by lawmakers during a discussion in Lok Sabha.
The INSACOG said the genomic surveillance will be critical for early detection of the presence of this variant, to enable necessary public health measures. It also recommended monitoring travel to and from known affected areas, and contact tracing of Covid-19 cases with an epidemiological link to affected areas has been implemented along with increased testing.
Byline Divya Thearia