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India has no COVID-19 vaccine booster plan yet as natural infection rate high: Sources

India is not considering authorising COVID-19 vaccine booster doses yet as many in the country have been naturally infected and the government believes that two doses of a vaccine offers sufficient protection for now, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

As vaccine supplies have increased, some doctors and public health experts in India have urged the government to start a booster programme for the most vulnerable like many Western nations have done.

But authorities will instead concentrate on having most of India's 944 million adults complete a two-dose vaccination by January before shifting their focus to a big expansion in exports, said the sources who are involved in discussions on vaccine policy.

So far, 81 per cent of India's adults have received at least one dose while 43 per cent have had two doses. Vaccination for people under 18 has not yet begun.

"The priority is to fully immunise the adult population," said one of the sources. The sources declined to be named as the matter was still being discussed by policy makers.

"A big majority has been naturally infected, and for them two doses are enough. That's why we are seeing that even after recent festivals, cases are not rising."

The source said that once most adults have had two vaccine doses, the government could make boosters optional.