Coronavirus Last updated on 2022-02-04 22:52:17
Do You Need The COVID Booster Shot?
- Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
- 3 Min Read
- Fact Checked
The number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise again and the world is preparing for a third wave should it come. India had seen a surge of cases that has spiked in the last few days. During these times of uncertainty, the COVID-19 vaccines and the COVID booster shot have become our only hope. The vaccines are deemed safe and effective, and everyone is advised to register to get the jab.
What is the COVID booster dose?
Simply speaking, the COVID booster dose is another dose of the vaccine. A booster dose is usually administered in diseases where immunity dwindles, like in the case of Measles or Rubella vaccine. The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine primes the body and the second dose boosts the immune system. In both the shots, memory cells that remember the virus are produced, and they help should the virus re-infect the body. They are produced more in number with a second dose and help in fighting the infection even when the antibody levels diminish over time. If these memory cells are challenged with a COVID booster vaccine dose they will induce a more sturdy immune response - more antibodies will be produced and these antibodies will have affinity maturation, meaning the antibodies bind more avidly with increased potency.
The question of taking the COVID booster dose commenced from the time vaccinations started across the world. Few countries have been giving COVID booster doses to certain groups of their population for a few months now.
The CDC issued guidelines that booster doses are to be given to organ transplant recipients or patients with compromised immune systems.
This is because, for them, the response to the first doses is less compared to the general population. Though they are vaccinated with two doses, one study has shown that there is an increased rate of infections after vaccination (breakthrough infections) in these individuals.
The CDC recommended booster shots for the moderate-severely immunocompromised individuals - which includes,
- On active treatment for malignancies of the blood - Taking immunosuppressant medication post organ transplantation - Underwent a stem cell transplant in the last 2 years or taking immunosuppressant medication - Genetic disorders in which the immune system is moderate to severely compromised (Examples: Wiskott Aldrich syndrome, Digeorge syndrome) - HIV in an advanced stage or not treated - On high dose of corticosteroids which causes immunosuppression
Is COVID booster shot advised for all?
There are questions about if the COVID booster dose is needed only in immunocompromised people or all individuals. When the country is struggling with the spike in Covid cases with the latest Omicron variant, the booster shot definitely looks like an optimistic step for all individuals. There is no data on if the COVID booster dose will cause more side effects than the first two doses.
The news around the COVID booster dose should not spark fear in the public about the efficacy of the existing doses.
We need enough data to prove there is waning immunity, especially a decline in immunity against severe disease in general as well as high risk population or due to mutants.
COVID Safety Measures that you must continue to follow
While we get a COVID booster shot or not, we still need to follow safety protocols until the pandemic subsides.This means:
- Always wear a mask in public
- Maintaining social distancing at 6 feet
- Use hand sanitizers
- Register to get vaccinated
If you exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms, make sure to consult online with a general physician. Catching it early can help a great deal in recovery. Don't self-diagnose or self-medicate - get an RTPCR test done and a general physician will let you know your course of treatment should it be positive for COVID-19.Still have questions about Covid? Check this Complete Guide to COVID-19!
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