(Bloomberg) -- Rich countries with large supplies of coronavirus vaccines should refrain from offering booster shots while a huge unvaccinated population globally remains vulnerable to contagious variants, the president of the Public Health Foundation of India said.

K. Srinath Reddy was weighing in on an ongoing global debate on whether to use booster shots, as countries with ample vaccine supplies are mulling on additional inoculations to boost immunity and stop the spread of the highly infectious delta variant. 

“It is absolutely important that we protect as much of the global population as fast as possible rather than focusing on booster doses in some of the vaccine-rich countries,” Reddy said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday.

India’s government and public health officials have said the country won’t go for booster shots for the general population, said Reddy. 

India, with the second largest Covid outbreak with over 33 million infections, seems to have arrested the rise of new cases, Reddy said. The daily new infections have been less than 30,000 for last 4 days, according to the federal Health Ministry, while some 758 million vaccine doses have been administered so far. But even with that large number only a little over 13% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

India is also bracing for possible third wave because of the festival season that starts next month, said Reddy. This wave could be milder than the brutal second wave that crippled its healthcare system and overwhelmed burial grounds and crematoriums in April and May, as two-third of the people are already exposed to the virus and the vaccination rate has picked up, he added.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.