Coronavirus Update: Health expert believes 6 months gap between COVID vaccine and precautionary dose better for immunity
As the Central government allowed the administration of booster doses after a gap of nine months after the doses of COVID vaccines, the top health expert believes that the gap between the second dose of vaccine and the precautionary dose should be at least six months for better immunity against the infection.
Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of the Indian Medical Association's (IMA) national task force on coronavirus said that the long gap between the second vaccine dose and the precautionary dose reduces the number of infections and severity of the disease.
Talking about his study on the gap between the second dose and precautionary dose, Dr Rajeev said, "As per our research, if a person is going for the third dose and he/she has very recently taken the second dose, then we found that it did not make any difference. In other words, if a person is already protected with a second dose very recently and he/she gets the third dose and it did not make a difference at least in our study. But we looked at people who waited longer, atleast for six months or longer after the second dose, then we found that adding a third dose made a difference in the number of infections and severity of infections."
On protection against Covid-19, Dr Rajeev said that multiple layers of protection like vaccination or masks or COVID appropriate behaviour is needed to be followed to be protected from getting COVID-19 infection.
"I think multiple layers of protection are needed. People using multiple layers of protection like vaccination or masks or COVID appropriate behaviour, are less likely to get infected," he said.
Arguing for the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, Dr Rajeev Jayadevan said, "I think the numbers are rising simply because a good number of people believe that the pandemic is over and it's gone away and we can go back to our pre-pandemic place. Unfortunately, that is wrong. Because the virus is very much around."
Earlier, the Director of Tata Institute for Genetics and Society (TIGS), Bengaluru, Dr Rakesh Mishra has called for reducing the gap for booster doses from nine to five-six months after two doses of covid-19 vaccination, saying "it can be a good approach".
"I think if a booster dose is made available before nine months, it will be very good. Five-six months can be a good time to give the booster doses. If we have vaccines available then we should use them," Dr said told ANI.
Union Health Ministry launched the precautionary third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for the 18-plus population at private vaccination centres on April 10.
All those who are over 18 years of age and have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose are eligible for the precaution dose.
The Centre has also allowed the private COVID-19 vaccination centres to charge up to a maximum of Rs 150 as a service charge for vaccination over and above the cost of the vaccine.
The precaution dose was available free of cost only to those above 60 years of age, healthcare workers and frontline workers earlier.