The advent of new coronavirus variants has caused most people to doubt the efficacy of the current novel coronavirus vaccinations. Evidence suggests that the existing COVID-19 shots are less effective on the new strains, initiating an urgent discussion around the need for a booster shot.
Read further to know the details about COVID-19 booster shots.
Iraq became the first country to administer COVID-19 booster shots to its population on July 30, 2021. It comprised of a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, administered first to citizens age above 60 in the country. The beneficiaries range was later expanded to individuals aged 30 years and above who had acquired their second dose at least 5 months prior to getting the booster shot.
In the US, the FDA gave a nod to Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) in mid-August. This was done to administer an additional dose of their COVID-19 vaccines for selected immunocompromised persons. According to Yale Medicine.org, FDA has also granted full approval to Pfizer’s vaccination for ages 16 and above.
Last week, the US government led by Biden announced plans to administer booster shots to its population on a wider scale, viewing increasing risks of Delta variant infections. The booster shot drive is likely to start on September 20, 2021, in the United States.
Following a similar course, UK has ordered 35 million additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, gauging the possibilities of using them as booster shots. These shots will be delivered in the second half of 2022.
What is the COVID-19 Booster Shot?
Booster shots are additional shots administered to fully vaccinated people at a predetermined period to provide additional disease protection. Since the vaccine’s impact wears off after a while, a booster dose is required to reduce the risk of infection. Taking a lesser dose of vaccine on a regular basis will assist the body in determining the virus more quickly.
How Does a Booster Shot Work?
Our immune system is triggered to combat the foreign organism, similar to if we were infected with the disease. This aids the immune system in “remembering” the pathogen. According to WebMD, this helps antibodies detect and kill the virus before it can affect us if we come into contact with it again.
First Prioritize Under-Vaccinated Countries, Says WHO
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhnom Ghebreyesus conveyed during a press conference on Monday that countries with low vaccination rates should be prioritized. This suggests a delay in administering booster shots to nations with an already strong vaccination process.
“In addition, there is a debate about whether booster shots are effective at all,” Ghebreyesus said, according to Reuters.
Booster Doses in India
According to Cyrus Poonawalla, Chairman of the Serum Institute of India (SII), the population needs to be administered with a third COVID-19 booster dose 6 months after the second jab to reduce virus spread. Bharat Biotech manufacturers received permission from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) regarding the same in the month of April. Following the approval, trials were started, the results of which are slated to be out by the end of August.
To read more on recent vaccine developments, click here.