As COVID-19 cases begin to rise again, governments around the world scramble to deploy safety measures to tackle this menace. Amid these defences, it is being proclaimed by some that the Indian government may decrease the gap between the 2nd COVID vaccine dose and the booster dose to 6 months. At the moment adults above the age of 18 can only get their booster COVID vaccine dose post 9 months of their 2nd dose.
Some agency officials confirmed that a meeting of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is scheduled for 29th April. It is heavily foreshadowed that the advisory group may recommend a reduction of the gap between 2nd and a booster dose of the COVID vaccine.
Recently, the Indian Council Of Medical Research (ICMR) stated, “Immunity response is increased by administering booster dose after 6 months”. ICMR and many other international research institutions have found that antibody levels start decreasing after 6 months of 2 doses of the COVID vaccine, but can be boosted efficiently with a booster dose at this time. Taking these findings into consideration, officials have hinted that the period between 2nd vaccine dose and booster dose will be revised to 6 months. Although nothing can be confirmed at the moment, the final decision may be taken by NTAGI on Friday.
Why Is A Booster Dose Necessary?
On 29th March, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Bharti Pawar referenced a study by the ICMR wherein they tested the efficacy of a booster dose for the COVID vaccine. This study found that upon administering a third dose of AstraZeneca or Covishield there was an increment in the amount of COVID antibodies produced. The increase was almost 3 to 4 times higher than with just the second dose. This study and many other supporting international pieces of research confirm that a booster dose is significant in the fight against COVID-19.
Status Of Booster Dose In India
As of now, per the Health Departments’ records, 5,17,547 people in the bracket of ages 18 to 59 and 1,45,45,595 people above the age of 60 have been inoculated with the booster dose of the COVID vaccine. Besides this, reports also suggest that 47,36,567 health workers and 74,47,184 front line workers have been given the booster dose already.
If you are eligible to get the booster dose with the current gap of 9 months, book yourself an appointment immediately. And for those not yet eligible, here’s hoping NTAGI’s meeting today will shorten that waiting period for you. Stay strong, stay vigilant!