‘In India, third dose can create a shortfall for those who are not vaccinated’
The proposed third jab or the booster dose is as of now not needed, unless and until the entire population is fully vaccinated, which means each eligible person having taken both the doses. This was the opinion of the experts at the 88th webinar on COVID-19, organised by the Andhra Medical College.
Addressing the participants, Paul Kelly, Director of Centre for Travel Medicine from the division of infectious diseases, Bronxcare Hospital, the USA, said that the plan for third dose, if required, could go on air, only if the entire eligible population is fully vaccinated.
Explaining further, AMC Principal P.V. Sudhakar said, “In a country like India, the need for a third dose can create shortfall for the people who are yet to get the first or the second dose. Moreover, there is a presumption that the virus may get mutated once the third dose is administered. But till date there is no data or evidence to suggest this, but research is on,” he said.
Moreover, according to Dr. Kelly, having the Delta virus is a blessing in disguise. From the original D614G, we have seen a number of variants such as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Epsilon, Iota, Lamda and MU. And finally we have the Delta variant, which is at least 100 times more virulent than the original virus and 55% more virulent than the Alpha variant, he said.
“After the Delta we have not seen any significant variant, apart from a couple of sub-groups and this is a good sign, as this indicates that people already infected with the Delta variant have developed antibodies to fight other variants,” said Dr. Kelly.
According to Dr. Sudhakar, the good news is that the vaccines, including those in the USA and the two in India – Covishield and Covaxin – have shown their affectivity against the Delta variant. And both in the USA and in India, it was the Delta variant that has been creating the havoc, he said.
“Post-vaccination and mass infection, it appears that people have developed antibodies and the rate of hospitalisation is slowly coming down, which is a good indication. But it is still not over and people cannot let their guard down on COVID-19 protocols,” said Dr. Sudhakar.