All persons with comorbidities must be eligible for booster doses, imperative to vaccinate children: Gehlot

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the WHO had issued a warning and suggested giving booster doses, but the Centre had not heeded the same

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (File photo)
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot (File photo)

Prakash Bhandari

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has strongly urged the Centre to give booster doses to persons suffering with comorbidities in all age groups and children to check the spread of coronavirus. He said the country has a very large population of children and they must be vaccinated and protected from the disease at a high priority.

Gehlot, who is himself suffering from COVID for the second time and is monitoring the situation through regular video meetings, said that India, like many other countries who under the directives of the World Health Organisation (WHO) are vaccinating children, should follow such countries.

Gehlot said that the WHO has issued a warning and has suggested giving booster doses. It’s major warning, but even after this, the Centre is not moving ahead with the booster doses, he said.

He said the Union government should initiate efforts to vaccinate children in the country. He added that India should increase the scope of booster doses because patients with comorbidities are found in all age-groups.

In medicine, comorbidity is the presence of one or more additional conditions often concurring with a primary condition. Comorbidity describes the effect of all other conditions an individual patient might have other than the primary condition of interest, and it can be physiological or psychological. Comorbidity can indicate either a condition existing simultaneously, but independently with another condition or a related derivative medical condition. The latter sense of the term causes some overlap with the concept of complications.

Gehlot said that he has consulted experts who believe that after a certain time, the effect of the vaccination starts decreasing and patients of diabetes, hypertension, BP, heart related issues are found in all age-groups.

“In such a situation, the Union government should allow booster doses to all such people irrespective of the age. Currently, only such people above 60 have been allowed precautionary dose,” said Gehlot.

Gehlot said that Rajasthan has become a model state in the country in terms of vaccination. More than 92 percent people above 18 years of age have been given the first dose of vaccine and about 78 percent have been given the second dose also. Vaccination of adolescents is also in full swing, he added.

“In just four days, more than 30 percent of adolescents in the age group of 15 to 18 have been vaccinated. The state government has ordered that those who have been deprived of vaccination till now due to lack of awareness should be vaccinated and the target of 100 percent vaccination should be achieved as soon as possible. The state government is currently carrying out a drive to create awareness about the COVID protocol. Post-COVID complications have been seen among those who were infected during the second wave,” said Gehlot.

Gehlot said that the Prime Minister’s advisers are not briefing him properly on the intensity of the fourth wave, if it comes. The Prime Minister should insist on reducing the booster dose age, he said.

The CM said he will pressurise the Union government to reduce the booster age condition and would take up the issue firmly in the best interest of the people.

Principal secretary (medical) Vaibhav Galaria said that the state has witnessed a surge in active cases and the number is over 7000, but only some 300 persons have been hospitalised. He said that about one lakh persons were vaccinated every day in the state and in the past four days, 16 lakh persons in the age-group of 15 to 18 have been vaccinated.

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