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Corona’s new variant Omicron has been entered in the country. Due to the spread of many times faster than the already existing variant, it is believed that the vaccine may also be ineffective on it. Although many countries are already giving booster doses to the people, but after the arrival of Omicron, the discussion of booster doses has started gaining momentum.

Understand, what booster dose will have to be taken to deal with Omicron? In which countries are booster doses being given? For what conditions are there people taking booster doses? Is a booster dose effective in preventing corona? And what is the Government of India preparing for the booster dose?

Why is there a buzz about booster doses after Omicron came out?

  • The Omicron variant of Corona has created panic all over the world at this time. There are many people infected with this variant, who have become infected even after they were fully vaccinated.
  • Omicron is believed to be more contagious than the Delt. That is, it is spreading more rapidly. Because of this also the discussion of booster dose has started.
  • Antibodies are believed to remain in your body for 9 months to 1 year after taking the vaccine. After that the antibodies start decreasing. That is, to maintain the antibody level in the body, you have to take a booster dose.
  • Studies have revealed that the effectiveness of the vaccine also decreases over time on different variants of the corona. There is no study yet on how effective the vaccine is on Omicron, but if the effectiveness of the vaccine is low, then a booster dose will have to be given.

What is the Government of India doing about the booster dose?

  • The chairman of the country’s Kovid Task Force, Dr. NK Arora has said that the government is going to bring a new policy on the additional dose (booster dose) of the vaccine for serious patients and people with weak immunity.
  • The National Technical Advisory Group (NTAG) will prepare this policy in 2 weeks. NTAG is also going to bring a new policy for the vaccination of 44 crore children of the country.
  • On December 2, Serum Institute India (SII) has sought approval from the drug regulator for the CoviShield vaccine as a booster dose in India. Serum Institute has sought approval for the vaccine as a booster dose, citing sufficient doses of the vaccine.
  • Kerala, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka have also appealed to the central government to take a decision on booster dose in view of the danger of Omicron. It is believed that within 15 days, the government can issue a guideline on booster dose.

Where is the booster dose being given?

According to Our World in Data, more than 35 countries around the world are giving booster doses to their citizens. Keeping in mind the comorbidity and different factors in different countries, people are being given booster doses of corona vaccine.

Israel

Israel was the first country to start giving booster doses. Israel has been administering booster doses of the vaccine to its citizens since July. In August, the third dose of the vaccine was being given only to people above 65 years of age, but at present, people above the age of 12 are being given a booster dose.

America

In September, the US gave approval for a booster dose. It was said that people would be able to take a booster dose after 6 months of getting both the doses. In September, it was only Pfizer’s vaccine that got approval for a booster shot, but currently three vaccine booster shots are being taken. People who have had both doses of Jansson & Jansson’s vaccine can get the third dose done after 2 months. Currently, anyone over the age of 18 can get a booster dose in the US.

Europe

On 24 November, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recommended a booster dose for all adults. Different countries in Europe are giving booster doses to people with different conditions. Many countries like Austria, Britain, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy are giving booster doses.

Canada

Canada has started giving booster doses from November. Here booster doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are being given. The quantity of dosage has been kept separately according to comorbidity and age. Anyone over the age of 18 can get a booster dose of Pfizer.

Is everyone being given a booster dose?

No, different countries have different requirements for booster doses. Many countries are giving booster doses only to people of 40+ age and many people over 18 years of age.

  • In the United States, people 18+ who live/work in areas with comorbidities and risks can get a booster dose.
  • In the UK, booster doses are not being given only to those who have had a severe reaction due to both doses earlier. The rest have been advised to take a booster dose. Pregnant women with comorbidities are also being given booster doses.
  • In Canada, booster doses are being given to different groups according to age and comorbidity.
  • In Israel, everyone over the age of 12 is eligible for a booster dose.
  • Japan approved a booster dose of Pfizer in November. In December, booster doses have also been started for healthcare workers. From January, a booster dose will be given to the elderly population.

Is a booster dose effective in preventing corona?

  • A study was done in Israel regarding the effectiveness of booster doses. In this study conducted on 7.28 lakh people, it was revealed that the booster dose of the vaccine is 93% effective in preventing hospitalization due to corona. It is also 92% effective in preventing severe symptoms of corona.
  • After 5-6 months of both the doses of the vaccine, the antibody level starts decreasing. A study conducted in England on the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine revealed that the vaccine was 90% effective in preventing infection for 2 weeks after the second dose, but only 70% after 5 months. In the same study, the effectiveness of the modern vaccine also decreased over time.

What does WHO have to say on booster doses?

WHO’s stand on booster dose has been opposite to countries. In November, the WHO chief said that the booster dose was a hoax and should be stopped. Countries which are giving booster doses to the people, instead donate the vaccine to poor countries.

Has there been any case of any reaction to the booster dose?

No. No such case has come to the fore in the world so far. However, after the booster dose, you may experience common symptoms like mild fever, headache, body ache.

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