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Boosters Can Wait, Vaccinate All First: AIIMS Chief Dr Randeep Guleria

New Delhi: All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) chief Randeep Guleria has said that “the idea of booster doses can wait” and India should at the moment focus on vaccinating as many people as possible to curb the spread of COVID-19. He was speaking in the backdrop of countries like the USA and Brazil going in for a third shot.

“I think we should focus on vaccinating those who have not been vaccinated till now, especially the high-risk group. Still many healthcare workers, many elderly and those with comorbidities have not been vaccinated, and they are the ones who have a chance of having more severe disease and dying because of Covid-19,” Guleria was quoted as saying by the news agency ANI.

Guleria also suggested increasing investment in research for antivirals or drugs that can be used in treatment against COVID-19. “We are still using a lot of repurposed drugs rather than any specific antiviral for Covid-19. And unfortunately, a lot of investment went into vaccine development but we didn’t really invest that much into research for antivirals or a drug which could have been effective against the virus,” he was quoted as saying by Indian Express.

“I really think that we need to push more in research in developing good antiviral drug; along with the vaccine, we need to have good drugs which are effective, which can be given easily to patients and are useful in the long run. We don’t have such a drug as of now,” he added.

The AIIMS chief further said that Sero Survey suggested that there may not be as many coronavirus cases in a likely third Covid wave if vaccinations continue in strength. Till now the country has administered over 60 crore Covid-19 vaccines.