Covid-19 Vaccination: The third booster may be key in protecting people

A third booster vaccine or an annual vaccine may be key in protecting people, health experts said on Monday.

The coronavirus is mutating, producing new variants and spreading rapidly across the world. While the available vaccines may be able to hold fort against these new variants, it is not yet known how long our immunity will last.

Recently, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that People are “likely” to need a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine within 12 months of getting the first two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Variants “will play a key role” in how regularly people will need to have their COVID immunity topped up as time goes on – in a similar way to how flu vaccines are updated and re-administered year on year.

Currently, all the vaccines require two-doses to be administered, two, three, or four weeks apart, through the intramuscular route. However, a third booster vaccine or an annual vaccine dose like other flu shots may become normal and help immunity to last longer. "Studies on the durability of our immune responses to the administered vaccines are currently ongoing. Emerging data suggests that there is a likelihood that our immunity may wane over time and given the increasing trend in the emergence of virus variants of concern, there is a high likelihood of booster doses," Dr Veena P. Menon, Ph.D, Faculty -In-Charge, Clinical Virology Laboratory, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, said.

"As per the WHO all the currently approved vaccines are expected to provide at least some protection against new variants as protection is mediated by broad immune responses involving both arms of immunity - humoral (antibody-dependent) and T cell-dependent," Menon said.

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