Widening the safety net: On rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for health-care workers

The need to test other vaccines as an additional dose in adults is overwhelming

Besides providing teenagers with a primary vaccine, health-care and frontline workers and those above 60 years with co-morbidities will be provided with a precaution dose. Providing Covaxin as the precaution dose to all the people who have received the same vaccine as part of the primary vaccination schedule, scientifically called as homologous vaccine booster, will be the best approach at least till there is evidence on using a different vaccine as a booster shot. Though Covaxin accounts for only around 10% of all doses administered till date, the scientific bodies need to factor in vaccine availability too. This becomes particularly important as only Covaxin is used for vaccinating teenagers and its production is very limited in comparison to Covishield. The compulsion to test other vaccines that can be used in place of Covaxin as an additional dose in adults is therefore overwhelming. The approval of two additional vaccines, which are manufactured using different vaccine platforms, will further lessen the reliance on Covaxin for primary vaccination of adults, thus ensuring that the vaccination programme for teenagers does not suffer from shortages midway.

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