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Booster shot as a precautionary dose helps increase protection against COVID-19: Dr Purohit

Bhopal 18.04.2022. A booster shot as a precautionary dose helps increase protection against COVID-19 when protection from the initial vaccine dose wanes over a period of time. The booster dose adds a layer of protection for those who are fully vaccinated, and is especially beneficial for those who have a compromised immune system and existing comorbidities. But unfortunately
it has been observed that there is a very low acceptance rate of precautionary booster shot in age group of 18-59 years said Dr Naresh Purohit, Advisor- National Immunisation Programme.

As daily new cases remained above 1,000 for the four consecutive days and several states reported a slight rise in infections and positivity rate,
Senior Epidemiologist
Dr Purohit expressed concern in a statement released and said
that nationally, the active cases have also increased after remaining below 10,000 for several days.

Dr Purohit stated that the success of the COVID-19 vaccination programme played a major role in enabling India to overcome the pandemic impact.

“Taking the precaution dose will help ensure that the recovery of our lives and the economy that has begun will continue unhampered with our immune systems ready for any new challenge from the novel coronavirus,” he added

According to Pandemic Control Expert public complacency owing to the waning of the pandemic coupled with the nine-month gap between the second and the precaution dose are major reasons for the low uptake of booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines in the 18-59 age group

He averred that unlike in the past, people have less fear of the disease now and due to declining COVID-19 cases, they have become complacent.

He, however, cautioned available scientific data suggest that immunity wanes with time and especially those with comorbidities in any age group are vulnerable to more severe disease.

“Covid threat will persist for some more time and netizens should take full advantage of the robust vaccination programme that is in place.”he added

He said that as per studies by ICMR and other international research institutions antibody level wanes after a certain a period following the primary vaccination with two doses, and therefore a precaution dose would help maintain elevated immune response and give protection against any emerging variants.

He averred that the nine month gap is also responsible for fewer people turning up for the precaution dose.

“The gap between the second and the precaution dose should have been around six months. The precaution dose is important as the antibody levels start reducing after a period of four-five months, and it is at the minimum after nine months of either last dose or natural infection.” he
pointed.

“So we do not especially have to wait for antibody levels to reduce to minimum, and precaution dose could have possibly been given little earlier than that,” said he

He further said , the lack of general awareness in both rural and urban areas about precaution doses which is one of the reasons for the low uptake.

“Therefore, people who are eligible for the precaution dose should take it as it will maintain a good level of protection against any new variant that may emerge,” he urged.

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