With the COVID-19 cases rising once again in many parts of the country, the speculations regarding the need for a booster vaccination dose against the virus have intensified. Everyone is concerned if they should get the third dose or not.
To make things even more intriguing, the United States has decided to administer their people with the third dose from September onwards. They have decided to inoculate the vulnerable group of people first with the third dose.
There are a few more countries thinking about administering the third dose to eliminate the possibility of another deadly wave of COVID-19.
Does India need a third COVID dose?
As per the experts, India surely is going to need a booster dose in the later stages. The government, however, has maintained that the need for the third dose of the vaccine is being closely monitored.
What is a Booster Shot?
A booster dose is administered to enhance the antibody levels in the body when they start lowering after a certain period of time following the second shot of the vaccine.
What do experts have to say?
The director at the National Institute of Virology, Dr Priya Abraham recently explained that studies have been under process in several foreign countries on the requirement of booster shots and at least seven vaccines have already been tried out. In the days to come, the booster dose will surely become a recommendation for everyone.
The director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dr Randeep Guleria has also pointed out that booster doses are definitely going to become a necessity looking at the mutating variants of the deadly virus. He also claimed that the immunity tends to fall as time passes. It happens because of waning immunity.
He said that it still has to be found out if a yearly dose would be required or not and if it would be mandatory for everyone or not.
On the other hand, European Medicines Agency has notified that it is too early to claim that there was any need for an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine, apart from the pre-defined two doses. It said that they were certain that the current regimen was sufficient for COVID-19 prevention.
Some other experts have suggested that the authorities around the world should focus more on the first round of vaccination as when enough people would be inoculated, the mutated versions of coronavirus would take time to pop up again.
Why is WHO against the third dose?
Currently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is stopping the countries from going ahead with the third dose as there are plenty of poor countries where the inoculation rate is very alarming.
WHO has said that the high-income countries should not go ahead with the third dose administration drive till the low-income countries catch up with a healthy inoculation rate.
Moreover, WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan also highlighted recently that the data available right now does not suggest any need for a third dose for anyone.
On the other hand, the United States health officials have been claiming for a long time now that people might require a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccines just like they do for other vaccines.
What does the Serum Institute of India recommend?
Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) chairman Cyrus Poonawalla, recently revealed that he has already taken the third dose of the vaccine and also appealed to everyone, who have already completed their course of two vaccines, to go ahead and take the third dose once it has already been six months.
Furthermore, he said that he has already got about seven to eight thousand SII employees inoculated with the third dose.
Covaxin booster dose trials
According to the media reports, the results of trials of the third booster dose of Covaxin developed and manufactured by Bharat Biotech and the National Institute of Virology, are expected to come by November 2021.
The booster dose of the “Made in India” vaccine was first introduced in May this year. It has been under trial ever since then at 12 different centres including AIIMS in Delhi and Patna.
The Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) had granted permission to run clinical trials for the third dose of Covaxin back in April this year. The results of the first trials carried out in April are expected in August, while the result of the second trial is scheduled to arrive in November this year.
The results of these trials will define the immunogenicity, reactogenicity, safety and tolerability of the booster dose of Covaxin.
As far as Indian and US experts are concerned, they both seem to be on the same page in terms of the need for the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while WHO has something else to suggest. The government may soon take a decision on the issue as the cases of Delta plus variant are rapidly increasing in some parts of India and may spread across states very quickly.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.