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Given the available information regarding the coronavirus and its variants, Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar, the former director of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has questioned the need for the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Gangakhedkar noted on the sidelines of a function on January 24 that, if a person received a third dosage of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine, it signified that his T-cell immune response had been trained three times.

"The core virus (of COVID-19) has not been changed so much that a new vaccine would be needed, so try and have trust in our T-cell immune response," Dr. Gangakhedkar said. "Looking at the current evidence (of variants of the virus), it is not that big that there is any need for the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There are many reasons for that. Currently, whatever vaccines are there, the virus makes the escape of mutants over them which causes infections."

Also Read: Recovering from COVID-19 not enough, new WHO study talks of ‘hybrid immunity'

People who are elderly or have chronic illnesses should keep taking precautions, such as wearing masks, according to Dr Gangakhedkar.

"For the fourth dose, I think, there is still time to think, because if any new variant comes, it would not be from the SARS-COV2 family. It could be a completely new variant and when it comes, we will think about it as our genomic surveillance is still going on. No need to get worried now," he said.

Dr Gangakhedkar appealed to follow two things, including taking a precautionary dose and taking all the precautions for those who are in a vulnerable group. He was speaking on the sidelines of a discussion on the book 'Braving a Viral Storm: India's COVID-19 Vaccine Story, organised by the Pune International Center.

Also Read: COVID new variant: When to get tested amid fears of XBB.1.5 and Omicron BF.7?

India saw a single-day rise of 89 coronavirus infections, while the active case count came down by three to stand at 1,931, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on January 24.

The total tally of Covid cases was recorded at 4.46 crore.

(With agency inputs)

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