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Post at: Jan 14 2022

Covid-19 vaccine booster: When to roll out booster jabs

Recent Context

  • On 25th December 2021 in his address to nation Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that precaution doses (booster doses ) of Covid-19 vaccine will be administered to health workers and over 60 years old people in the country with certain conditions.

What are booster doses?

  • Most Covid vaccines are administered in two doses, with a few given as a single dose. 
  • A booster is an additional shot given after the protection provided by the original shots has begun to decrease over time.
  • Booster doses help people to maintain their level of immunity for longer durations.

Immunity durations

  • How long immunity developed by an infection or a vaccination, will last depending upon various factors. For example, antibodies decay over time and even memory T-cells will die after a few years or months.
  • In the past, boosters were recommended for smallpox prevention every three to five years.
  • But before providing any booster doses evidence based on thorough scientific studies should be present for administering the booster dose.

India and Booster doses

  • The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is examining data from across the world as well as from India on three aspects:  
  • T-cell response;
  • Antibody response with a particular vaccine and with another vaccine; and
  • How long immunity persists after infection.
  • There is a detailed discussion on an additional dose focusing on cellular immunity from memory cells, which play an important role in providing protection against severe disease and hospitalisation.
  • A preliminary consensus in India suggests that if one has taken an inactivated-whole virus (eg Covaxin) or adenoviral vector vaccine (eg Covishield or AstraZeneca’s vaccine), the third dose should not be of the same platform.



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