Do you need Covid vaccine booster shots and when? AIIMS chief answers


As mutations of the coronavirus emerge, the beneficiaries who have been vaccinated may still need a booster with a second-generation Covid-19 shot, said Dr Randeep Guleria, the chief of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

“It seems that we probably need the booster dose of vaccines as with the passage of time the immunity tends to fall. There is waning immunity. We would like to have a booster dose that will cover for various emerging variants,” Guleria was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

“We will have second-generation vaccines which would be better in terms of the immunity they give, covering of the new variants and a having a better overall efficacy. Trails of booster vaccine shots are already going on,” he added.

He further shed light on an approximate timeline of when the booster dose should be administered.

“You will probably need a booster dose till the end of this year. But that’s only once the population is vaccinated, then the next step will be to administer a booster dose,” Guleria said.

International discourse

Guleria’s statement comes days after the European Medicines Agency said it was too early to determine whether more than the two shots of the Covid-19 vaccines currently in use will be required.

It said it was confident for now that the established regimen was sufficient.

Globally, experts are reportedly watching closely to determine if and when people might need another shot.

Many suggest the priority for the time being should be the first round of vaccinations, noting that worrisome coronavirus mutants would not be popping up so fast if more of the world had gotten the initial round of shots.

US health officials have long said that people one day might need a booster — after all, they do for many other vaccines.

But the World Health Organization said earlier this month that there is not enough evidence to show that third doses are needed. It said the scarce shots should be shared with poor countries instead of being used by rich countries as boosters.

Covaxin booster dose trials

Results of trials of the third booster dose of Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin is expected to come by November this year, news agency ANI had earlier reported.

The booster dose of the indigenously manufactured vaccine was first launched in May, after which the trials began at the AIIMS in Delhi and Patna.

As many as 12 centres across the country are conducting trials for Covaxin’s booster shot.

The permission to conduct the clinical trials for the third booster dose was granted to Bharat Biotech in April by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

The results of the first trial, conducted in May, will come in August. Meanwhile, for the second trial, final results are expected by November 2021.

The trials are aimed at assessing the immunogenicity, safety, reactogenicity and tolerability of the Covaxin booster dose.

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