Categories: Coronavirus

Why do we need the Booster Shot of Covid vaccine?

As we know, the government has approved the use of booster or precaution dose against COVID-19. Still, there is a lot of confusion around the precaution dose. In this blog, we will try to clear some doubts about precaution-dose.  Let’s start with what the booster dose is.

A booster is an additional dose given (either as an injection or as an oral drop) after primary administration of the drug. A booster after primary immunization gives our immune system additional strength (extra antibodies). These new antibodies restock the antibody level back to the protective level that decreases with time.

The extra dose is referred to as booster dose across the world, in India; precaution-dose is the commonly used term for the same.

The interval between the primary and precaution-dose depends on several factors, but the most important is the level of antibodies against the disease. In the case of COVID-19, for precaution-dose, the government of India has prescribed a time interval of 39 weeks after the second dose.

Eligibility criteria of the precaution dose

In India, the precaution COVID-19 vaccine administration campaign started on 10 January 2022. Eligibility criteria for an individual during the first phase of precaution-dose campaign are:

  • Frontline workers such as healthcare workers, doctors, and nurses are eligible for phase 1 of precaution dose administration
  • People above 60 with or without co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic diseases can also get precaution doses in phase 1.
  • There is no necessity for a doctor’s certificate for the precaution dose administration, but consultation before the precaution jab is advisable.
  • A person can get a precaution dose only after nine months or 39 weeks after receiving the second dose of the Covid vaccine.
  • The precaution dose will be the same vaccine that the people have received during their previous vaccination. According to the health ministry, there will be no mix and match of doses. If a person has received the Covishield vaccine during the earlier two jabs, he will get Covishield only as a third precaution dose. The same holds for other vaccines as well.
  • There is no need for a new registration on the CO-WIN app. One can register for the precaution dose at the CO-WIN app with existing login details only. The eligible people can get the vaccine by onsite registration also.

Importance of precaution dose

Not only India but many other countries have been providing booster doses. Based on the current pandemic situation, we can not undermine the importance of the booster dose. Let’s discuss why the precaution dose is helpful and needed:

  • As we know, WHO has declared Omicron as the variant of concern that can invade the body’s defense shield. Thus, people are becoming vulnerable to the infection, and that’s why the precaution dose is needed to boost the immune system from getting an infection.
  • We know that even previously vaccinated and previously infected patients are also getting infected from the Omicron variant. Therefore, we need a boost to our defense system to fight against the virus.
  • As immunity gained either from past infection or vaccination also diminishes with time, a precaution-dose can reinforce our immunity to fight against new mutations.
  • Recently, Omicron has become a center of focus for us, but other variants of COVID like delta are also still present. Most hospitalization is still due to the delta variant. We already know that COVID vaccines are immensely effective against the delta virus. So, vaccines can be our shield to prevent us from adverse complications due to covid infection.
  • Precaution-dose also decreases the chances of the virus transmitting from one person to other.

Possible side effects of precaution dose

Until now, precaution-dose administration has not caused any serious side effects. The most common side effects are the same as those after the two-dose or single-dose primary vaccination. Most side effects are mild to moderate in intensity:

  • Pain and swelling at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and tiredness
  • Muscle and joint ache
  • Fever

Discomfort and pain at the vaccine site are the commonest side effects of the shot. But contact a healthcare provider or your doctor if you feel any of the following:

  • Redness or pain at the injection site gets worsened after 24 hours.
  • Worsening of other side effects after a few days.
  • Any allergic reaction after a few minutes to hours of the shot.
  • Fever for over 48 hours, after taking the vaccination

Remember, because of the first and second doses of the Covid vaccine, we have effectively fought the second wave of COVID-19 infection. Today, as we are grappling with the third wave of the COVID infection, therefore the necessity of booster or precaution dose is very high.

So, if you are eligible as per the government guidelines, don’t hesitate and book your appointment to get a precaution dose today.

Dr. Shivani Swami | Consultant – Pulmonology, Allergy & Sleep Medicine | Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur

Narayana Health

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