Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said that there is no need for new registration for beneficiaries of the precautionary Covid-19 vaccine dose. "Those who have taken two doses of Covid-19 vaccine can directly take an appointment or walk-in to any vaccination centre", said the ministry.
The scheduled for the precautionary dose from the ministry is expected on Saturday. | Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash
The scheduled for precautionary dose from the ministry is expected on Saturday. The online appointment facility will also start by this evening. The vaccination with an on-site appointment will start from January 10, it said. The vaccination process of the third precautionary dose for health workers, frontline workers, and vulnerable senior citizens is scheduled to start nationwide from January 10.
However, the precautionary or the third dose for the healthcare workers, frontline workers, and those above 60 with comorbidities will be the same vaccines as was given to them previously. "Precautionary Covid vaccine dose will be the same vaccine as has been given to them previously as primary dose. Those who have received Covaxin will receive the same as precautionary doses, and those who have received primary two doses of Covishield will receive Covishield", Dr. V.K. Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog, had said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
Prime Minister had announced that the vaccination process of third precautionary dose will commence from January 10. | Photo by Parang Mehta on Unsplash
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced on December 25 that while the inoculation for the 15-18 age group will begin from January 3, the vaccination process of third precautionary dose for health workers, frontline workers, and vulnerable senior citizens will commence from January 10. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: vaccine, vaccination, fresh, registration, dose, Covid-19, precaution)
The highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid, which has so far been detected in more than 100 countries so far, may help the world get rid of the Delta strain that claimed so many lives across the globe, said health experts on Tuesday. Omicron, first detected from southern Africa in late November, has become dominant in several countries including the US and the UK, outpacing the previously dominant Delta variant, which was considered to be the dominant strain in many countries until recently.
While Omicron is known to cause only mild disease, Delta has been more lethal leading to increased hospitalisation with drop in oxygen levels, pneumonia, and death. "Omicron is a milder wave and will replace Delta, and may be good for the world," Dr. Vasant Nagvekar, Covid task force member of Maharashtra government, told IANS.
"Omicron is more transmissible, and it could also be immune-evasive (cause breakthrough infections in previously infected or vaccinated). But so far, there is no proof that it produces more severe infections," added Nagvekar, who is also Consultant, Infectious Diseases at Global Hospital, Mumbai.
The early data from South Africa has shown that most patients are younger and the variant produces milder infections. "For now the variant also appears to be stable, with high transmissibility but low virulence, which perhaps explains the lack of surge in hospitalisations and deaths where it was earlier reported," Nagvekar said.
Meanwhile, what we need is vigilance, improving border surveillance, genomic sequencing, as well as vaccination cover, he noted. "The best option for getting out of this phase of the pandemic is to ensure that people everywhere are fully vaccinated. As the virus continues to spread, there remain opportunities for new variants to emerge," Brian Wahl, Assistant Scientist, Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, US, told IANS.
"This is why it is so important to increase coverage of both doses in India and in countries where vaccine coverage is currently low, like in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa," he added.
Meanwhile, with more than 30 mutations on its spike protein, Omicron has the potential of evading vaccines as well as previous Covid infection induced immunity. Several studies have shown that two doses of existing Covid vaccines may not be effective against Omicron, while booster doses have shown promise.
India has also announced the roll out of booster doses, starting with healthcare workers from January next year. "The protection provided by many vaccines can be reduced over time. Booster doses can help bring protection back up. However, the frequency with which boosters might be required is not known," Wahl said.
However, Nagvekar stated that "a booster dose, even if it works, is just a temporary fix. We can't keep on taking boosters every six months and for every variant of concern that emerges. Equitable vaccine distribution, especially a vaccine that covers the most recent variant of concern is a possible and practical solution in the long term."
Vaccine for kids is necessary.RACGP/Wikipedia
Also read: US researchers checking vaccine efficacy
India will also start vaccinating children aged 15-18 from January.
While Covid as a whole has been mild for children, Omicron has raised concern with many kids being affected and hospitalised in the US, South Africa and the UK. "Vaccine for kids is necessary. If Omicron cases rise, it's going to be challenging due to its faster spread," Nagvekar said.
Besides vaccines and booster doses, monoclonal antibodies and anti-Covid pills have been a great aid in the fight against Covid. While India had already approved monoclonal antibodies therapy for treating severe Covid, the country on Tuesday also granted emergency approval for US-based pharma company Merck's Covid pill molunapiravir. The pill has shown efficacy in curbing hospitalisation and death by 30 per cent.
The antiviral drug will be manufactured in India by 13 companies for restricted use under emergency situations for treatment of adult patients with Covid-19 and who have a high risk of progression of the disease. (IANS/PR)
(keywords: Omicron, Covid-19, pandemic, variant, Delta, covid pill, disease, vaccination, children vaccine, Booster)
The Centre has initiated a study of 3,000 individuals who received their both doses of Covid vaccines to determine the need for booster dose amid the looming scare of Omicron.
The study will be conducted by the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) under the Department of Biotechnology. The participants who have already received their both doses of Covid vaccines will be given booster doses to determine the impact on their immunity level. The study is expected to cover all three vaccines used in India -- Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V.
According to a source, the study will include people above 40 years of age, below 40 years of age, people infected with Covid-19 prior to vaccination, and people with co-morbid conditions. The hospitals involved in the study will be submitting the report on blood samples along with the analysis on the requirement of booster doses in India, said the source.
Amid the everyday rise of Omicron cases in India, the need for booster dose has been voiced by many institutions. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had earlier said that the decision on booster dose in India will be taken based on scientific data and analysis. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) is expected to meet in the first week of January to take a call on the same.
(Keywords: India, Omicron, Covid-19, Vaccination, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, Pandemic, Health, Vaccine Dose)
People who have recovered from Covid-19 require only one vaccine dose. A second jab is important for those who have not had Covid-19 to reach strong immunity, suggests a study. The study, led by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in the US, found that Covid survivors had a robust antibody response after the first mRNA vaccine dose, but the little immune benefit was seen after the second dose.
On the other hand, those who did not have Covid-19 — called Covid naive — did not have a full immune response until after receiving their second vaccine dose, reinforcing the importance of completing the two recommended doses for achieving strong levels of immunity. Two doses are optimal to induce strong antibody and B cell responses in patients who are immunologically naive for SARS-CoV-2, and antibodies induced by the vaccination could protect against the more infectious and deadly South African variant, said the researchers.
Follow NewsGram on Twitter to stay updated about the World news.
The findings, published in the journal Science Immunology, provide more insight on the underlying immunobiology of mRNA vaccines, which could help shape future vaccine strategies. “These results are encouraging for both short- and long-term vaccine efficacy, and this adds to our understanding of the mRNA vaccine immune response through the analysis of memory B cells,” said E John Wherry, director of the Penn Institute of Immunology.
The human immune response to vaccines and infections results in two major outcomes — the production of antibodies that provide rapid immunity and the creation of memory B cells, which assist in long-term immunity.
For the study, the team included 44 healthy individuals who received either the BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. Of this cohort, 11 had a prior Covid-19 infection. Blood samples were collected for deep immune analyses four times prior to and after vaccine doses.
They confirmed that the mRNA vaccines induced antibodies that could neutralize the D614C and B1351 variants. These responses peaked one week after the second vaccine dose in naive patients but peaked two weeks after the first dose in recovered patients, with similar patterns in B cell responses for both groups. (IANS/SP)