What is a Booster Dose and Does It Work Against Covid-19?

Over the past few days, covid-19 and omicron cases have been increasing. Many state governments have imposed night curfews to diminish the spreading virus. 15-17 years age group has started receiving the first dose of vaccine to fight against Covid-19. Due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, the precautionary Covid-19 booster doses to all frontline and healthcare workers and immune-compromised seniors in India.

What is a Booster Dose?

A Covid-19 booster shot is an additional dose that is given when the effectiveness of previous two doses starts to decrease over time. Basically, you will get a booster dose when immunity from initial doses starts to decrease. The booster dose is developed to help people maintain immunity levels for a longer period of time.

Who can Get the Booster Shot for Covid-19?

Frontline and healthcare workers and people aged 60+ years with co-morbidities are currently eligible to get the booster shot for Covid-19 from January 10. PM Modi said that Covid booster shots are optional for this group, and they can take doses after taking the doctor’s recommendation. According to Health Ministry, eligible people don’t need to register for a booster shot. You can get an appointment if you are eligible for the Covid-19 booster.

Which Vaccine to be given as a Booster Dose?

There will be no mix of vaccines. If you have received the first two doses of Covishield, then the third dose will be Covishield. Similarly, if you have received the first two doses of Covaxin, then the third dose also will be Covaxin.

Why is a Booster Dose of Vaccine Required?

Even though, Covid-19 vaccination is effective in protecting people from severe diseases. According to reports, the vaccination may become less effective over time, especially in people who are above 65 years. With the increase of Omicron cases, many people who are fully vaccinated are also at risk of getting affected.

A booster shot is given to those people who have a weak immune system, especially the elder people and those who have low antibody levels. The idea behind booster shots is to increase the protection level by increasing antibodies by injecting the same shot of the Covid vaccine.

What is the gap between the second dose and the third dose required?

According to the National Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation, the gap between second dose and booster dose should be 9 to 12 months for frontline workers and senior citizens with co-morbidities and people with weak immunity.

What are the options available for the Covid-19 vaccine booster in India?

Currently, in India, Covaxin and Covishield vaccines are available as Covid-19 vaccine boosters. One can take the same vaccine that he/she got previously. If we talk about Corbevax and Covovax, then these two don’t qualify as Covid-19 vaccine boosters in India. Similarly, there is no information available for Sputnik.

Side Effects of a Booster Shot

According to reports, reactions after receiving a booster dose were similar to those after receiving the first and second dose. Headache, fever, pain, and fatigue were commonly reported side effects, and most side effects were common. Serious side effects are rare.

What does the Covaxin study say?

Six months after the second dose of Covaxin, when the Covid-19 booster shot was administered it marked a rapid growth in CD4+ T- and CD8+ Tcell response, stated Bharat Biotech. After the vaccine, reactogenicity and placebo were minimal, and no serious side effects were reported, further, it adds.

How to get registered for precaution dose or booster dose through the Cowin portal?

  • You can use or Aarogya Setu App on a phone, and select the vaccination tab under the Cowin tab.
  • Log in through the mobile number that you have used for previous doses. If you have used someone’s number, then ask them for OTP when you log in. Keep one thing in your mind that up to 4 people can register using the same phone number on the Cowin portal.
  • You will see your profile after successfully logging in. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, then you need to register first and get vaccinated.
  • Under the Appointment Module, the ‘Precaution dose’ slot will appear.
  • Select the ‘Precaution dose’ tab and choose an appointment.
  • You can choose an appointment according to your Pincode, location, etc. and then tap on Book Appointment. You can download the detail after confirmation.

Remember that Cowin suggests users carry a Photo ID and registered mobile number. It also recommends that people who are aged 60+ years and have co-morbidities must take precaution dose, only if prescribed by a doctor. Additionally, the booked session can’t be cancelled but can be rescheduled. When your appointment is confirmed, you will get confirmation details through SMS.

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