NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization meets often where science is being “looked at systematically, carefully. We do not have any recommendations on pediatric vaccination from them as yet. They are examining it and other facets of vaccines.”

On a question on Covid booster doses for adults, Paul said, “We are keeping an eye on global scientific studies in this regard.”

New Delhi:

There has been no recommendation yet from the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) on vaccinating children against COVID-19, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul said Friday.

“The team has been examining information coming from several sources in this regard,” he told a press conference here.

He said the NTAGI meets often where science is being “looked at systematically, carefully. We do not have any recommendations on pediatric vaccination from them as yet. They are examining it and other facets of vaccines,” he said.

On a question on Covid booster doses for adults, Paul said, “We are keeping an eye on global scientific studies in this regard.”

There is no stand of the World Health Organization on booster doses, he said.

“It is under consideration. But the WHO has clearly highlighted the need for completing primary vaccination as the most important priority and our thinking, view is also aligned with the same approach that we have to complete the task of vaccinating all individual with both doses.

25 cases of Omicron

The government on Friday said 25 cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been detected in India so far and that mostly mild symptoms have been noted in all the cases.

Clinically, Omicron is not posing burden on the healthcare system yet, but the vigil has to be maintained, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

At a joint press briefing on the pandemic, the government said 25 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in India — 10 in Maharashtra, nine in Rajasthan, three in Gujarat, two in Karnataka, and one in Delhi.

“Mainly mild symptoms have been seen in the cases of Omicron variant detected so far,” Health Ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said.

According to the government, the WHO has highlighted that compliance to public health and social measures is declining globally with the increase in vaccination rates.

The government said 86.2 per cent of the country’s adult population received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 53.5 per cent has been administered both doses.

It said the weekly positivity rate in 19 districts was between five and 10 per cent and it was over 10 per cent in eight districts of three states.

India’s coronavirus tally climbed to 3,46,74,744 with the addition of 8,503 infections in a day, while the number of active cases rose to 94,943, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

The death toll mounted to 4,74,735 with the addition of 624 new fatalities, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been recorded below 15,000 for the last 43 days now.

“Mask usage is declining. We have to remember that both vaccines and masks are important. We should learn from the global situation,” said Paul while addressing the health briefing. “WHO is warning against the decline in mask usage. The global scene of Omicron is disturbing,” he added.

As far as protection capability is concerned, Paul said that India is now operating at a risky and unacceptable level. “We have to remember that both vaccines and masks are important. It is not the time to remove masks yet,” reiterated Paul.

Further, he said, “The United Kingdom and France are experiencing a massive wave due to this variant. The pandemic caused by the virus is full of surprises and unexpected turns, so it is very important to protect yourself from it.”

Talking about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines against the Omicron virus, Paul said that it is effective against all variants. “The variants aren’t so smart yet that they can surpass the vaccine protection,” he said.

The Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Balram Bhargava added that regular meetings are being organised to keep a watch on the global scenario and Covid scene in India with a focus on Omicron.

“We need help to not spread panic. District level restrictions to be implemented where positivity over 5 per cent,” he added.