Booster Dose – an Ideal Antidote to Omicron

Three extensive studies conducted by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that the booster dose is instrumental in fighting the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. Community health along with social measures continue to be a vital component of the prevention strategy, especially for the unpredictable Omicron variant. The crux of the COVID-19 immunization drive remains reducing mortality, lessening its severity, and supporting the healthcare system.

Booster Dose Benefits & its Efficacy  

According to research conducted in the UK, the booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, after the primary doses, provides up to 88% protection against hospitalization from Omicron infection.

A booster dose increases your protection against:  

  • illness due to COVID
  • critical health conditions owing to COVID
  • fatal cases of COVID

Two plausible reasons for the booster dose to dramatically escalate immune protection are,  one – an additional dose generates antibodies that bind tightly to the spike proteins, and two – the mRNA booster doses produce antibodies targeting parts of spike proteins that are shared by all forms of SARS-CoV-2. A booster dose thus is crucial for optimised protection against COVID-19 as it ensures the safety net provided by the first two doses is strengthened further and is longer-lasting.

Side Effects of Booster Dose  

The most common side effects one can get after the COVID booster dose in India are:  

On the injected arm:  

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness

Throughout the body:  

  • Headache
  • Fatigue/Tiredness
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Chills
  • Fever

Which Booster Should I Get?  

Eight vaccines including Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have been cleared for use in India, however, only two – Covishield and Covaxin have been used so far, as no mixing of vaccines is allowed in India. The government’s decision to avoid mix-and-match of vaccines follows  WHO guidelines which state that mixing of vaccines should be carried out only if there is a supply constraint. Individuals who received two doses of Covishield will have to get the Covishield booster dose. Similarly, people who received two doses of Covaxin previously will get the Covaxin booster dose. People that have tested COVID+ recently will have to wait for at least 3 months to get the booster dose. The CO-WIN portal will send a message to eligible individuals, reminding them to get the booster. Government facilities will be administering it free of cost.

Emoha’s Role in Assisting Seniors During Pandemic 

Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19, Emoha has left no stone unturned in providing all-encompassing COVID care for seniors. This includes the provision of COVID tests, assistance for vaccination,regular care calls, timely emergency assistance, isolation hubs across Delhi-NCR, teleconsultations with medical professionals, and much more. Throughout the pandemic, Emoha has been providing updated and verified  COVID information through the website, blogs, YouTube channel, and other social media platforms while carrying out regular MohTV discussions on the Emoha Elder App activities to bring a sense of community to seniors.

Administration of booster doses should resolutely be empirical and initially directed towards the citizenry at the highest risk & those responsible to protect the health infrastructure. Evidence of decreased vaccine effectiveness over time, demands further systemization of vaccination strategies and strategic use of booster vaccination drives. More information is required to comprehend the overall impact of COVID booster vaccinations in the immunisation strategy, especially in the context of new emerging COVID variants.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should we do to restrict the spread of the Omicron variant? 

Our best defence is to get vaccinated, take both doses of vaccines (if not done yet), and also the booster dose if you are eligible. It is also prudent to wear a face mask, practice social distancing and maintain proper hand hygiene to impede the spread of Covid-19 variants.

Is it true that the Omicron variant is more contagious than other strains? 

Research data indicates that the Omicron is likely most transmissible or contagious than any other strain (including the Delta Covid variant).

Is the Omicron booster vaccine safe? 

Yes. Just like any other vaccine, your arm might experience pain after you get the booster dose. You can also experience flu-like symptoms, however, these are merely normal symptoms of your bodies natural immune response to the vaccine and at the most only last a day or two.