City doctors have urged the chief minister Miss Mamata Banerjee who also heads the state health department, to take necessary steps for giving booster doses for Covid19 to health workers, including doctors, nurses and other people involved with healthcare services in the state.
Dr Manas Gumta, secretary of the Association of Health Service Doctors (AHSD), has written to the chief minister in this regard. “We observe that doctors and other health workers are again getting infected with the Covid-19 virus, with severe and moderate illness because of the rapid surge in the novel coronavirus positivity rate during the post-Durga puja period,” Dr Gumta said.
“It is worth mentioning that this subset of population like doctors and healthcare workers have been vaccinated at the initial outset of vaccination drive across the country and by this time, a considerable period of six to seven months have elapsed with an anticipated drop in protective immunity.
The developed countries like UK, US have documented the same and initiated to offer booster dose to all healthcare workers at a time when our country is sitting idle on the issue,” he added. “We have requested of chief minister to take initiative so that all doctors and other health workers can get the booster doses in our state,” he said.
On the other hand, the Union Health Ministry has also indicated that vaccination coverage for all is their current focus with optional Covid vaccination booster dose to specific individuals needing it for medical conditions.
The indication comes at a time when the World Health Organisation (WHO) with support of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunisation and its Covid-19 Vaccines Working Group, continues to review the emerging evidence on the need for and timing of a booster dose for the currently available Covid-19 vaccines which have received Emergency Use Listing (EUL).
A senior Health Ministry official, speaking about whether the government plans to roll out booster doses for all, recently said: “Experts are definitely looking into research and suggestions from across the world and we are open to this evolving situation. Currently, our main focus is to ensure that we extend our ongoing vaccination programme to all. Booster doses, in case a recommendation comes in, would be first offered to those who medically need it.”