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Friday, December 03, 2021

Explained: Why is the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine important?

Prof Rakesh Kochhar from PGIMER explains to The Indian Express why it is important to complete both doses of vaccination.

Written by Parul | Chandigarh |
Updated: November 18, 2021 8:03:42 am
In 110 cases, Covaxin was administered more than six weeks ago, but the second dose is still pending. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

The health department, Chandigarh, as part of a review of Covid vaccination, last week, observed that the second dose of Covid vaccination is overdue in 75,526 cases in Chandigarh. In 75,416 cases, the first dose of Covishield was administered more than 16 weeks back, but the second dose is still pending. Similarly, in 110 cases, Covaxin was administered more than six weeks ago, but the second dose is still pending.

Prof Rakesh Kochhar from PGIMER explains to The Indian Express why it is important to complete both doses of vaccination.

According to the data shared by the health department more than 70,000 people have not taken the second dose of Covishield. What could be the repercussions?

That’s a large number of defaulters. They are at risk themselves as well to others including their family members. They are also wasting scarce national resources. Across India, over 10 crore people have not got the second dose within the stipulated time.

If someone has missed the second dose, and the time gap is more than what is stipulated, what are the protocols? Will they have to take the first dose again?

There are no set protocols, but after a certain interval it would mean starting with the first dose. The second dose can be taken anywhere in the country. People don’t necessarily have to take the second dose in a city where they were administered the first dose of the vaccine.

How important is it to take both doses of the vaccine?

It is a must. All Covid vaccines need two doses except J&J in the USA. Only after the second dose, the real protection starts.

With the festive season on, will the fully vaccinated be less prone to getting Covid-19 infection and its spread?

Yes. Fully vaccinated people are protected against Covid per se, serious disease and hospitalisation as well as death. Data also suggests benefits in the spread as well.

Will vaccination help prevent the third wave?

Yes, but to prevent another wave we need to maintain Covid appropriate behaviour, avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings. A mask should remain the norm for quite some time.

According to the latest data, how long does the vaccine provide us immunity against the disease?

There is no data on it yet. With time vaccine efficacy does decrease. In the US and the UK, boosters are advised after six months of the second dose in certain people.

How important is a booster dose for health care workers and those with co-morbidities?

It would be needed in these groups, but after the community penetration of vaccine is high. ICMR says we can wait for one year after the second dose.

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