Washington (USA) | Jagran News Desk: As the threat of the COVID-19 crisis continues across the world, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America (USA) on Wednesday approved a booster shot of the Pfizer anti-COVID-19 vaccine for people above the age of 65, adults at high risk of severe disease and those who are exposed to the infection.

In a statement, the FDA said that the decision was taken after an independent expert panel formed by it voted in favour of the move. This means that nearly tens of millions of US citizens are now eligible for a third shot of the vaccine.

"Today's action demonstrates that science and the currently available data continue to guide the FDA's decision-making for COVID-19 vaccines during this pandemic," the FDA said, as reported by AFP.

Booster shots have been allowed in several countries, but experts have been divided over the issue. Last week, top US expert Anthony Fauci had said that more research is needed to make a decision on whether a booster shot is warranted for the general public.

"As we said in the beginning, we would want to plan for the possibility of vaccinating all those who have gotten their initial vaccination with Pfizer," he had said, as reported by AFP.

In India, experts have also recommended for more research over booster shot. Earlier, immunologist Satyajit Rath, while speaking to news agency PTI, had said that the country's priority must be to vaccinate more people with at least one jab.

"I therefore think that it is ethically premature to begin planning a third dose to a fortunate category of people at this stage," he said. "It is also pragmatically premature to do so, since we have no really clear idea of who is 'more vulnerable to infection'. We do know that some co-morbid categories are more vulnerable to serious illness, but two doses of the current vaccines currently protect quite well against that".

As per the data available at the Union Health Ministry website, India has administered more than 82.65 crore vaccine jabs so far under the centralised vaccination drive.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma