BENGALURU: Seven doctors recently testing positive for Covid-19 in Bengaluru, including
the one infected with the Omicron variant, has left medical professionals worried. What has
set the alarm bells ringing is the fact that all seven had taken the second shot of Covid
vaccine in February.

This concern was raised in a recent meeting of BBMP and an expert panel of doctors.
“Healthcare workers (HCWs) are the most vulnerable, and this is evident with a doctor being
infected with Omicron. Why has the government delayed booster doses when vaccines are
available in abundance?” said a doctor who’s a member of the panel. The government’s
silence on children’s vaccination was also discussed at the meet.

Dr MK Sudarshan, chairperson, state Covid Technical Advisory Committee, said there’s a
clear need for booster doses for HCWs. “If the state government involves frontline workers in
contact tracing, then they must also be given booster doses,” he said. Dr Sudarshan added
all those who are vulnerable, like HCWs, frontline workers and persons with comorbidities,
should be vaccinated.

“We have seen five doctors testing positive recently in our hospital. It has been over eight
months since they were jabbed with two doses. The time has come for booster doses. In the
UK, the government is giving booster doses three months after the second shot,” said Dr CN
Manjunath, director, Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research.

According to Dr US Vishal Rao, member of state committee for whole genome sequencing,
the immune system requires a reminder once in six months to realign itself to the incoming
potential invasion. That’s the reason why the US, UK and other European countries have
started booster doses, he says. However, the global inequality concerns Dr Rao. “Three
doses are being administered per person in some countries and none or just one in some
others. Booster doses should be used optimally by covering the most vulnerable like HCWs,
frontline staff and senior citizens with comorbidities,” he opined.

“Detection of the Omicron variant in a doctor reiterates the need for booster doses for
HCWs,” said Dr Jagadish Hiremath, chairman of Aasra hospital, who feels every eligible
Indian should get them..

K Anil Kumar, principal secretary, health and family welfare department, said the central
government has to take a call on the same.

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