Can booster shots beat the coronavirus? Read what experts have to say | World News - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Can booster shots beat the coronavirus? Read what experts have to say

By | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jan 08, 2022 08:07 AM IST

The rapid spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) due to emergence of the Omicron variant has renewed calls for getting people vaccinated at a faster pace. Many healthcare experts have said that vaccination remains the only proven way to beat the infection.

The Omicron variant of coronavirus has created an unprecedented situation, leading to surge in Covid-19 infection and increasing the vaccination doses. Many countries across the world are asking people to take a third – or the booster shot – to tackle the heavily mutated Omicron.

A man receives his Covid-19 vaccine at Union Station in Los Angeles, on January 7.(AFP Photo)
A man receives his Covid-19 vaccine at Union Station in Los Angeles, on January 7.(AFP Photo)

Israel has gone a step further and is giving a fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine to its population. India has also launched a programme to inoculate an eligible group of people with the precautionary dose.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

But is this the way forward? And do we have to take a booster shot every few months? The healthcare experts and researchers have been baffled by the constantly mutating coronavirus and have been advocating increasing the vaccine coverage. But in many interviews, these experts have said that trying to boost the entire population every few months is not realistic.

Akiko Iwasaki, professor of immunobiology at Yale University and one of the most authoritative voices on Covid-19, told New York Times that “there are better ways than doing boosters every six months”.

“This doesn’t seem to be a sustainable long-term strategy, for sure,” said another immunologist Deepta Bhattacharya, from the University of Arizona.

Booster shots were advocated to increase the immunity against the coronavirus, looking at the frequent mutations it is coming up with. But there is no data to support the effectiveness of this dose.

The boost to the immunity has been temporary, with some studies in the United States pointing to a drop in antibody levels just weeks after a third dose.

“Even with that amount of antibody, it’s very hard to stop the virus for very long. It’s a much higher bar now than before, and maybe an Omicron-specific vaccine would do a better job,” Shane Crotty, a virologist based in California told the New York Times.

Late last year, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that people might need a fourth Covid-19 shot sooner than expected due to the Omicron variant. The statement came days after Pfizer and BioNTech released results of a study which showed that a third shot of the vaccine is effective against Omicron, but a two-dose regime saw its ability to protect dropping significantly against the heavily-mutated virus.

But in the United States, the worst affected country, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that it’s too early to discuss a potential fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Singapore's Health Minister Ong Ye Kung reiterated the same thought in a Facebook post on Friday. "If you have recovered well from an infection, without complications, your immune system would have gone through a strong stimulus. Think of it as a fairly powerful vaccination shot," he said.

Ong said there is no rush to get boosted for those who have been infected and then vaccinated, or those who have been infected in between vaccine doses.

Tell us what your First Vote will stand for in a short video & get a chance to be featured on HT’s social media handles. Click here to know more!

Get Current Updates on India News, Elections 2024, Lok sabha election 2024 voting live , Karnataka election 2024 live in Bengaluru , Election 2024 Date along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, May 20, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On