A sudden spike in Omicron cases has been witnessed all over the world. With the highly mutated Omicron variant spreading rapidly, people want to know if a booster dose would offer immunity against the disease.
Recently, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) informed that a third booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine provides 70-75 per cent protection against symptomatic infection from the Omicron variant. Sharing the same opinion, India’s top virologist, Dr Sahid Jameel, said that a booster dose after two doses of vaccines is said to increase protection against symptomatic protection from Omicron and will increase the number of circulating antibodies. Echoing with the top Indian virologist, Dr T Jacob John, a Vellore-based virologist said that booster dose will increase the immune response exponentially and the time for the government to act is ‘now’. He further added that two shots are for priming the immune system and that the priming effect is likely to wane in six months to a year.
On the other hand, Antony Fauci (Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States) has said earlier that a booster shot specifically for the Omicron variant may not be needed. He added that the existing Covid vaccines can help fight the new variant as they seem to have the same level of immunity needed to fight Omicron. However, pharmaceutical giants – Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE have said that the initial lab studies show that the third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine may be needed to neutralize the omicron variant.
In India, Omicron cases have been reported in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Chandigarh. The Health Ministry has recently told the Lok Sabha that the NEGVAC(National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 ) and the NTAGI (National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation ) are going through scientific justification for booster doses against the coronavirus.