With the COVID-19 menace seeming long to end and as mutations namely Delta, Delta Plus, Lambda posing risks to lives globally, concerns over vaccine capabilities to these mutating infection variants are on rise.
Even as some vaccine manufactures believe that the present vaccines are found wanting to fully battle out the rising COVID mutations, the term ‘vaccine booster shots’ are making rounds, hoping to be a viable solution to the present situation.
So, What Is A COVID-19 Booster Shot?
The vaccines available at the moment consist of two doses and aim to reduce risks of getting the virus by working with your body’s natural defences to build protection and immunity.
While natural antibodies produced after COVID-19 infection remain effective for a period of 7-12 months, the effectiveness of the vaccine-produced antibodies remains vague.
A booster shot means nothing but an add-on to the armour of your immune system, playing the role of strengthening it.
In case where the booster shot is same as the original vaccine the role would simply be to amplify the signal and increase the magnitude of protection by producing more antibodies.
Scientist can also tweak the booster shots by changing in the elements of it’s recipe if they perceive to protect you from a new variant which has significantly mutated from the original version against which you were vaccinated.
Tweaked booster shots will train the cells to recognise new features of the virus and produce antibodies, protecting one if exposed to a newer variant.
Who Would Need A Booster Shot?
Booster shots can be taken in only by those who are fully-vaccinated.
With mutations of the infectious virus on surge leading abroad the waves of the deadly COVID-19, health authorities across the globe are considering various factors around them before it’s safe rollout.
Pfizer and BioNTech have begun developing a version of their vaccine specifically to combat the highly infectious Delta-variant.
Bharat BioTech the producers of Covaxin have also started trials for the third shot which will be administered as a booster shot.
Global countries like Thailand, Israel, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates are all speeding towards the ‘Booster Shots’ reason being that research reports reveals that the Delta mutation is powerful enough to make vaccine shots less effective bring the protections levels down to below 90%
While countries are moving forward with booster shots, pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Bharat Biotech and Moderna have also given their nod by recommending a booster shot to have advanced levels of safety against the mutating deadly virus.
What Do Health Experts Say About A Booster Shot?
World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said in June that such a recommendation was unnecessary and premature given the paucity of data on booster shots and the fact that high-risk individuals in much of the world still haven’t been fully vaccinated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is US President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, has said clinical studies and laboratory data have yet to fully bear out the need for a booster to the current two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson regimen.
Dr. Fauci reiterated that with the given the data and the information available at present, they do not need to give people a third shot.
He further urged the stand by saying, “That doesn’t mean we stop there…. There are studies being done now ongoing as we speak about looking at the feasibility about if and when we should be boosting people.”
Even as the usage of booster shots are yet to be confirmed it still holds the possibility of being particularly helpful for the elderly and immunocompromised people whose bodies were unable to mount a robust protection against the virus following the first two shots.