Concerns are growing over the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines over the newer strains of the Coronavirus. Countries like Israel have already started giving booster shots to the population which is at risk. The authorities of the U.S have already started talks with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, regarding the same.
Are COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters The Way Forward?
There is data, that shows that people who have received the vaccines are less likely to get infected. Moreover, even if they contract the virus, it is less severe. However, there is data to show that the newer strains of the SARS-CoV-2, like Delta, can still cause infection.
Studies Show That Delta Variant May Still Infect
Several studies have shown that over 95% of people, who have received both shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, are still susceptible to infection from the new Delta strain. Moreover, those who received just a single shot were more at risk. The Health Ministry of Israel has revealed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was just 64% effective against the newer strains 6 months post-vaccination. However, the studies also revealed that two doses of Pfizer were still effective in stopping severity, at about 93%.
As of now, the CDC or Center for Disease Control and FDA have released statements, saying they are open to talks on booster doses. They will rely on further studies for the same.
More On Vaccine Boosters
Vaccine boosters offer an extra dose of protection against viruses. It is necessary after the effects of the shots have waned off. Vaccine boosters are given for various viral infections like flu. Moreover, boosters are the norm at a gap of ten years for Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis. For certain vaccines, getting smaller doses at frequent intervals is better than large single doses. This approach allows the body’s immune system to build its immunity shortly. If the immune system remembers the body’s last response to certain antigens, it can mimic the counter moves. Some vaccines and their structure remain the same. However, many vaccines are upgraded with time, to learn to cope with newer strains of the virus.
Why people should consider taking booster shots, is a query everybody has. Booster shots are beneficial when the effects of the previous shots wane over time. Moreover, with repeated attacks by certain antigens, the immune system is not able to ward off the infection completely. Vaccine boosters help the immune system stay strong.
Response To Boosters
Moreover, boosters also save individuals from newer variants of the virus. With time, newer variants evolve. The genetic structure of the viral components changes. Thus, they are able to dodge the immune response. Therefore, booster shots come in at such times. They help the body to create more variant-specific immunity. The structure of the antibody changes, and the virus is unable to avoid the response.
Moreover, newer boosters can target the new versions specifically. This works by producing a new kind of immune response. Thus, two variants of the boosters work in this case, to protect the body.
As per statements released by CDC, it remains unclear how long the current protection stays. However, boosters can increase the protection level for older adults who have a weaker immune response. Based on recent studies, it has been seen that the effect of the doses of the current vaccines stays for 12 months. It also tends to work against newer variants. However, research is still underway, as to the need for boosters for the Coronavirus. Moreover, the viral strains are changing. Research is on to provide more uniform measures that can tackle all forms or most of the forms of the virus. Evidence is still to be received on such studies and their efficacy.
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