Will a Covid-19 booster shot be required? Here's what WHO's chief scientist says
World Health Organization's chief scientists Soumya Swaminathan has recently said that there is not enough information to either confirm or dismiss the requirement of a booster shot after the Covid-19 vaccination. The United Kingdom has launched a countrywide study to explore whether a third shot of the same vaccine will provide greater coverage to people who have already been fully vaccinated. Chances of reinfections are less but breakthrough infections have taken place all over the world.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund, which marketed Sputnik V, said it will offer a booster shot, which has high potential to work against the Delta variant of coronavirus, first detected in India, to other vaccine manufacturers. This is because Sputnik V is more effective against the Delta variant than other vaccine makers, RDIF said.
What is a booster shot?
All the present vaccines comprise two doses. It is not clearly known how long the effect of vaccination stays and so many countries are thinking of an annual shot.
Too premature, says WHO
Soumya Swaminathan said it is premature to consider this as many high-risk individuals in most of the world have not yet got their full vaccination. Data from countries introducing precautionary extra inoculations later this year -- particularly for vulnerable people whose immunity to SARS-CoV-2 may wane faster -- will inform WHO’s guidance, she said.
Delta variant, first detected in India, is seen as the reason behind fresh Covid-19 outbreaks in the UK and many other European countries. Meanwhile, another mutation of Delta variant, Delta Plus, has been reported in India which, the government said, is not yet a variant of concern. India is looking forward to the first three-dose vaccine ZyCov-D which will come to the Drug Controller General of India for approval in a few days.
WHO earlier expressed concern over how Delta variant is becoming the dominant variant because of its significantly increased transmissibility. "We need more data, again from well-designed studies on the efficacy of the different vaccines that are in use in different countries against the different variants. So what this means is that there has to be in place, a study that uses a good design," Swaminathan said earlier.