Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 11
Amid a raging debate on whether Covid infected should get vaccinated, the government on Friday said the inoculation policy was dynamic and India’s National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) could review it if new evidence emerges.
In the light of top experts from the Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and Indian Association of Epidemiologists, in a report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that there is no need to vaccinate those with documented COVID-19 infection, Member, Health, NITI Aaayog VK Paul today noted: “Respected institutions have submitted their views and we will consider these and also engage the experts one on one. Whether Covid infected should or should not take a vaccine would be decided through the institutional mechanism which is in place for the purpose. NTAGI meets regularly to study emerging evidence and to decide on policy”.
Paul said the current recommendation from NTAGI is that Covid infected should take the shots three months after recovery (the WHO recommends shots to Covid infected six months post recovery).
“If more data emerges, the policy can be nuanced. It is dynamic. There is no hardcore ideological position in science. Suggestions will be appropriately discussed. NTAGI consists of experts who are globally commended,” said Paul, repeating the same thing when asked if the gap between two Covishield doses—recently increased at 12-16 weeks—should be revised to eight weeks, as the UK has done.
The experts in their report to the PM have said: “Those infected with Covid may be vaccinated after generating evidence that the vaccine is beneficial after natural infection”.
They have also argued against current mass indiscriminate vaccination.
”Vaccinating the vulnerable and those at risk, instead of mass population-wide inoculation including children, should be the aim at present. Mass, indiscriminate and incomplete vaccination could lead to mutant strains. Given the rapid transmission of infection across India, it is unlikely that mass vaccination of all adults will catch up with the pace of natural infection among our young population. The present situation of the pandemic demands that we should be guided by the logistics and epidemiological data to prioritize vaccination rather than opening vaccination for all age groups at this stage,” the report said.