On Thursday, June 10, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) affirmed that a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can increase immunity and help combat a variant of concern. Recently, PM Modi in his speech informed that seven companies in the country are in process of producing different vaccines against COVID-19, while three are in the clinical trial stage.
Dr Sanjeev Sinha, Department of Medicine, AIIMS, said, "Many people who took vaccine in January have seen that they didn't get any serious side effect during the second wave. The vaccine is effective in preventing covid infection, but after six months of inoculation, there is doubt among people that will they have enough antibodies in the body to combat the speculative third wave".
Dr Sinha added that researchers of India, the US and other European countries have observed that the booster doses will have a great effect. He further said, "There are many viral diseases where booster dose is required like the Flu shot. The booster dose will increase immunity and can combat variant of concern".
The Bharat Biotech shot, COVAXIN, is one of the approved Coronavirus vaccines in India, was approved in January without having carried out phase 3 trials at the time. The company released interim data in April that showed the vaccine was very effective. On Wednesday, June 9, the vaccine maker said that they will release the results of phase 3 clinical trials of its coronavirus shot only in July, a month later than the previously announced timeline of June.
The ongoing study is to be conducted on 190 participants who were already vaccinated with COVAXIN (as part of the phase 2 trial) six months ago. The trial is going on in AIIMS Delhi and Patna where all participants will be followed up for six months after the third dose for their safety and immunogenicity.
In early April, India has liberalized the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include all aged 18 and above. The Centre has asked the vaccine manufacturing companies to scale up their production, to meet the vaccination requirement, with the help of International as well as national vaccine makers. It also allowed them to supply 50 per cent of the produced doses to state and private hospitals directly from the manufacturers at the price declared by them.
According to PM Modi's recent address to the Nation, people aged 18 and above can avail free COVID vaccine doses.
To date, India has administered 24,10,87,884 COVID vaccine doses across 41,749 vaccination sites.