VACCINE BOOSTER

  • Recently, Pfizer and BioNTech have announced that they would seek regulatory authorization for a third booster dose of their Covid-19 vaccine (BNT162b2)
  • This development comes amid the global spread of highly transmissible Delta strain of Covid-19.

Important points:

  • A booster is a means of strengthening one’s immune system against a particular pathogen.
  • It may be exactly the same original vaccine, in which case its goal is to increase the magnitude of protection by producing more antibodies.
  • Scientists can also tweak what goes into the booster if they are aiming to protect people from a new variant — a version of the virus that’s mutated significantly from the original version people were vaccinated against.
  • These shots are only for the fully-vaccinated.

Need:

  • These boosters will be particularly helpful for the elderly and immunocompromised people whose bodies were unable to mount a robust protection against the virus following the first two shots.
  • Secondly, if there are studies showing that a new variant can sneak past the antibodies created by a specific vaccine, the need of a tweaked booster shot arises then.

Concerns:

  • Booster shots are yet to get a nod from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • In fact, the WHO has expressed caution in encouraging third doses.
  • Such a recommendation is unnecessary and premature given the paucity of data on booster shots and the fact that high-risk individuals in much of the world still haven’t been fully vaccinated.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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