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COVID Will Reach Endemic Stage In India, Annual Vaccination May Be Needed: ICMR

New Delhi: A senior official of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Friday that the coronavirus will subsequently reach its ‘endemic’ stage, just like influenza, and will ‘always’ be present among a certain population or within a region.

“The COVID-19 virus will reach its endemic stage like influenza after a while. Then, the vulnerable population may have to get vaccinated annually,” said Dr Samiran Panda, who heads ICMR’s Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases division.

“Commonly known as flu, influenza was a pandemic 100 years ago, but today it is endemic. Similarly, in the case of Covid-19, it is expected that it will gradually become endemic from its current stage of pandemic,” he added.

Dr Panda recommended that the elderly should take their flu shots every year.

“There is no need to panic. As the influenza virus keeps mutating, minor changes are made to the vaccine simultaneously,” Dr Panda said.

Stating that vaccines are “absolutely safe for everyone,” he urged breastfeeding mothers to take the jab.