The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined COVID-19 as an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus that has been newly discovered.
The symptoms experienced by people infected with this particular disease will have mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without needing any special medical treatment. However, this can be a serious health risk for those with underlying medical problems like diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, or even older people.
The prevention and slowing down of the spreading is to be educated and well informed about the virus, the symptoms, and how it is transmitted. It is advised to wash our hands or use an alcohol-based rub frequently to protect ourselves.
The COVID-19 virus is spread primarily through discharge from the nose or droplets of saliva when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot
The emergence of coronavirus variants has forced most people to doubt the vaccines currently being administered. The proof suggests that the COVID-19 shots are not as effective on the new variant, and hence, there is growing pressure for a booster shot. The ambiguity for a standard protocol and means to measure the new surge has left many countries confused. In an attempt to get going, New Zealand has begun distributing COVID-19 booster shots to at-risk adults. Not too far behind, the USA has initiated talks with Pfizer.
Booster shots are a similar dose to the previous doses administered. It's a dose that tops the existing one, including similar compositions and effects. The booster shot concept is a recurring deal where adjusted doses of the same vaccine will be injected from time to time. Experts have yet to confirm the future pattern of dosing but can safely say it will be prevalent for quite some time. It is similar in cases of flu, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. The primary function of these COVID-19 booster shots is to restore the antigens in the body, which therefore aids the immune system to maintain a protective shield.
COVID-19 shots are working well
If a COVID-19 booster dose is introduced, that does not indicate that the prevailing COVID-19 shots are not working or they are ineffective. They can prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and even death against the widely circulating Delta variant of the virus.
However, due to the same variant, healthcare professionals are starting to observe a reduction in protection against mild and moderate disease.
Therefore, the officials are planning for a third dose so the already vaccinated population can maintain protection and prevention over the coming months.
Who will get the booster dose first?
Researchers suggest that these booster shots are beneficial for people who received the COVID-19 vaccination shot first (those most at risk). This category includes healthcare professionals, residents of long-term care facilities, and other older adults.
Booster Shot v/s Additional Dose
People who are moderately or critically immunocompromised do not develop enough (or any) protection when they first get a COVID-19 shot. If this happens, getting another shot helps them build more protection against the disease.
On the contrary, a COVID-19 booster shit is another dose of a vaccine given to a person who had built enough protection after vaccination; however, that protection deteriorates over time. This is called waning immunity.
Cyrus Poonawalla, the chairman of Serum Institute of India (SII), recently said that a third COVID-19 booster shot of Covishield is necessary after six months of the second dose. He later stated that after six months, the amount of antibodies goes down, so there is a need for a booster shot.
In April, Bharat Biotech makers also got the allowance from the Drug Controller General of India to organize trials for the third COVID-19 shot of Covaxin, which will be recognized as a booster shot. Results of the first trial were disclosed in August, and the final is expected by November 2021.
United States of America
Currently, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) only advises COVID-19 booster shot doses for those who are severely or moderately immunocompromised. If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC approve the US's September, American citizens will receive the third dose of either Moderna mRNA vaccines or Pfizer. US officials say "boosters will likely be needed" for people who received Johnson & Johnson's one-shot vaccine. However, a plan for these shots will be made once more data is available.
In the UK, Sajid Javid, the health minister, has also declared that a vaccine booster scheme is likely to commence the following month. The final date is yet to be announced after the final suggestion from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, with the notion that the population with the most at-risk will be provided with the booster shot first.
Israel has already started a COVID-19 booster shot program for the older citizens of the society. At the same time, both France and Germany plan to offer the third COVID-19 shot to the older and more vulnerable members from September.
According to WHO
People at risk or general citizens of India have been waived off of any speculations to get a COVID-19 booster shot, as Covishield indicates no need for a booster shot. It is an interim recommendation amidst risk concerning the next wave.
The UN body cleared that the timing of COVID-19 booster doses will be evaluated after further data is gathered. However, nothing has been stated about the booster dose of Covaxin by Bharat Biotech.
WHO, however, has stated that these COVID-19 booster vaccination schemes will increase inequities by driving up the demand and consuming scarce supply. Implementing the third dose should be done only if it is firm evidence orientated and targeted towards the population sector in greatest need.
Authored By: Ankita Agarwal
About Author: Ankita Agarwal is a Health & Wellness Coach from Siliguri, India