COVID-19 Booster Shot: Why Adopting Right Now Isn’t the Right Strategy

The expert review, accessed by Financial Express Online, included scientists from the international community, including WHO and the FDA.

COVID-19 Booster Shot: While many people around the world are speculating about booster shots, an expert review published in The Lancet journal concluded that giving booster shots to the general population at this stage is not appropriate. The newspaper said, this is because even for the Delta version, the vaccine is very effective against severe COVID-19 infection. The expert review, accessed by Financial Express Online, included scientists from the international community, including WHO and the FDA. The review is based on evidence from randomized controlled trials that are currently available and observational studies published in journals and on pre-print servers.

The review noted that one of the consistent findings from observational studies was the high efficacy that vaccines continued to demonstrate against serious infections — whether from the delta version or the alpha version. It was also found that the vaccines were more than 80% effective in providing protection against any infection caused by these variants.

In addition, it was also stated that among all virus types and all types of vaccines, the vaccines were found to be more effective against severe disease than against mild disease. The review also explicitly stated that even though vaccines in comparison were less effective against asymptomatic cases or against virus transmission than against severe disease, it was found that even in populations where vaccination administration rates were higher, it was more effective against those There was an unaffiliated minority of people who were found to primarily drive transmission of the virus, and it was this minority that was at highest risk of contracting serious infections.

The paper’s lead author, Dr Ana-Maria Henao-Restrepo of the WHO, said that the main goal of vaccination was to provide significant protection against serious infections and added that there was currently no evidence that this protection was being significantly reduced. . Therefore, Dr Ana-Maria said the limited supply of the vaccine would be better used if it is redirected to people who are vulnerable to the disease and have not yet been vaccinated. The lead author also noted that even if the booster shots were to add some benefit to protection, its benefits would not outweigh those that would be gained by routing the vaccine dose towards increasing initial protection. This, Dr Ana-Maria said, would have the most benefit as it would vaccinate a larger population and, therefore, would prevent the development of more variants.

The review authors also noted that a drop in antibody levels does not necessarily mean that the vaccine’s effectiveness against disease has decreased, as antibody responses are not the only factor conferring protection against a serious disease. The experts noted that antibody responses may be relatively short-lived, but protection against disease can also be mediated by memory responses and cell immunity, which are generally long-lived.

It was also noted that since vaccines are currently highly effective responding to existing variants, this means that the virus has not yet evolved to the point where they have begun to evade an immune response. In addition, any other variants developing will likely come from strains that are already widely prevalent, and therefore, booster shots that will be developed specifically to combat new potential variants may result from would be more effective at fighting infections than another shot of the current vaccine.

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