By: Musaib Iqbal MK
Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday said that all those people who have already vaccinated themselves now need a booster dose of covid-19 vaccine in order to keep themselves away from the possible infection again.
The new variants of the infection have worried people particularly in Jammu and Kashmir and a booster dose is being suggested by most of the health experts in order to avoid the infection of these variants.
According to the DAK press release, “Booster shots would help broaden individuals’ immune response against the emerging variants of Covid-19,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“Ever since the pandemic began, the virus has been mutating,” he said, adding most of these mutants are insignificant, but some can make the virus more infectious and even deadlier.
Dr Hassan said while the current Covid vaccines still protect against the circulating variants, antibodies naturally wane over time, so booster dose is needed to ensure that the protection is maintained against the new variants.
“A booster shot is to increase the body’s antibody response to a virus after the immune system has been primed by the initial vaccination,” he said.
The DAK President said currently, the timing for Covid booster dose has not been established, but the early data that is coming is in support of a need for booster dose somewhere between 8 and 12 months after full vaccination. Then from there, a yearly shot is possible.
“The booster dose can be the same as your original vaccine or it can be from a different vaccine. The booster can also be a tweaked one to include the variants that have mutated significantly from the original version you were vaccinated against,” he said.
“A recent Oxford study found that a booster dose of AstraZeneca vaccine increases antibody and T-cell immune response,” said Dr Nisar.
“United Kingdom is planning to offer a booster jab to its citizens from September this year.”
“Pfizer plans to seek US FDA emergency authorization next month for the booster dose of its Covid vaccine, based on the company’s initial data showing that the booster dose raises antibody levels by 5 to 10 fold compared with the original vaccine,” he said.
“Moderna is working on a tweaked booster shot. The trial results show that the vaccine works well against Covid variants.”
“Bharat Biotech, the makers of India’s Covaxin, is conducting trials for a third dose which will be administered as a booster shot,” he added.