ICMR begins study on vaccine for people with poor immunity

The study will see how immunocompromised people are responding to existing Covid-19 vaccines, including Covishield and Covaxin.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the country’s top health research body, has initiated a study to evaluate the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines in immunocompromised people. Experts say the results are likely in the next six months. The study includes some people with kidney related problems and some on dialysis, among others, they said.

“This way, we will get to know the magnitude of the problem,” said J Muliyil, a member of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).

The study will see how immunocompromised people are responding to existing Covid-19 vaccines, including Covishield and Covaxin. It will also evaluate the effect of a booster shot on these people when it is the same as the one given earlier and also when it’s a different vaccine.

“The study will evaluate how they are responding to vaccines and how giving them a booster dose of the same vaccine and a different vaccine will work,” said Muliyil.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that booster shots should be administered to health and frontline workers and those above 60 with comorbidities from January 10. He also said vaccinations will begin for children between 15 and 18 years from January 3.

While the announcement comes as a relief to many, experts say data is needed.

“We have to see whether people who are immunocompromised due to associated disease conditions cannot mount enough immune response. Studies are needed to understand the same and data is generated to see the response of the available vaccines in immunocompromised people,” said an expert at ICMR.

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