The Omnicron variant of covid-19 is spreading fast. In India, several states have stepped up vaccination, surveillance and containment measures as the country detected 21 Omicron cases. On Monday, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Aviation Minister, India directed Delhi airport operator DIAL to implement better strategies to manage crowd as passengers complained of crowding at one of its terminal following the new Covid-19 related travel guidelines. Amid the rising Omicron cases across the globe, it becomes even more important to get a booster shot or an additional jab.
Following this, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) will be meeting to look upon the issues of child immunisation and administering additional doses of Covid-19 vaccine to the immunocompromised on Monday. A comprehensive policy from an expert panel is also expected for both the additional covid vaccine doses and child immunisation, chairman of India’s Covid-19 task force, NK Arora stated.
“The policy will be about who will be vaccinated, when and how they will be vaccinated. This will be done keeping in mind the new variant that is coming. With time, we will get more information about this variant. The effectiveness and relevance of the current vaccines will also become clearer with time”, Arora was reported as saying in Indianexpress.com.
Meaning of additional dose of covid-19 vaccine
An additional dose of vaccine, also called a third dose, is given to those with moderately or severely bruised/weakened immune system in order to improve their response to a series of vaccines they are given with. The term ‘third dose’ earlier was used to mean additional doses for the two mRNA vaccines. But now, it is known as ‘additional dose’ because those who have been vaccinated with Johnson&Johnson’s ‘one dose’ may also be eligible for the dose depending upon their immune systems.
So, an additional vaccine dose is given to those with weakened/poor immune systems that may not develop enough immunity inside their cells after two doses of vaccine. The additional vaccine is given to improve their protections against the covid infection.
Understanding booster shot
Booster shot is given to increase the magnitude of protection in the body by producing more antibodies. It is given to strengthen one’s immune system against the particular virus. The booster shot could be known as an additional dose provided after the protection provided by the two/one dose covid vaccines starts to diminish. Meaning, you will get a booster shot once your immunity starts to fall after the initial doses of the vaccine. The aim of booster vaccines is to help people maintain or hold their immunity in the body for longer the better.
A booster shot or an additional Covid-19 vaccine?
A booster is given when a person has been vaccinated with both the doses and the protection provided by these vaccines has started to decrease over time. On the other hand, an additional dose is given to those with moderately to severely compromised immune systems. The additional dose is given to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series. Experts also believe that offering such beneficiaries a third dose could help them level up to an immune response similar to healthy and immunized populations.
So, in the end, it would be fair to say that third covid-19 doses are administered to those with immune vulnerabilities which could also include cancer patients (those who are going through chemotherapy), or those who have received an organ transplant. This can however be done depending on case-by-case basis and may not be true to everyone.