India is set to introduce new vaccines which may later be added as boosters to boost protection against COVID-19, a top central official said.
The Times of India quoted Dr NK Arora, chairperson of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) as saying that two new ‘made-in-India’ vaccines will soon be available on Cowin-an mRNA shot and an intranasal vaccine.
Dr Arora said that the Indian mRNA shot is the only one in its category that can be stored and transported at 2-8°C. Likewise, the intranasal vaccine is easier to administer. He added that the two vaccines can also be given as the primary doses, and once they have enough data, they will be introduced as heterologous boosters.
Further speaking about the deaths due to COVID-19, Dr Arora said that the fatalities currently reported were mainly among those who were hospitalised with underlying conditions such as chronic heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, and lung disease.
It is pertinent to mention here that, as per the heterologous schedule, people who have had both the doses of Covishield or Covaxin, have the option of taking a different vaccine as the booster dose.
The NTAGI chief also commented on WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ recent statement that the end of the pandemic was in sight. He said that the virus in India was indeed “transitioning into regular influenza, with no new variants associated with severe disease spotted in over nine months.” He added that Omicron sub-variants have emerged, however, hospitalisations and deaths continue to be low and India is moving towards a point where people will be able to get back to their normal routines.
However, he also urged people to keep up precautionary measures.