Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • In the case of taking only 2-doses, it finds protection against severe disease drops to around 70 percent after 3 months and to 50 percent after 6 months

Even as the country, including Odisha, will see rolling out of 'precaution dose' or booster dose for the senior citizens from January 10, the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Thursday dropped a bombshell.

As per JCVI real data analysis, whilst with a booster dose, the duration of protection against the severe disease remains high, protection against mild symptomatic infection is more short-lived and drops to around 30 percent by about 3 months.

Against the backdrop of such a finding by the UK-JCVI, the real import of the evidence is elderly population has a 70 percent chance of contracting Omicron, 3-months after taking the booster or precaution shot.

The JCVI has undertaken the vaccine effectiveness study of Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccine, whose Indian equivalent is Covishield. For which, the study results released yesterday are seen with greater interest in the country.

Elderly Vulnerable To Omicron?

The UK-JCVI real data study, however, reveals big. It finds that around 3 months after they received the third jab, protection against hospitalisation among those aged 65 and over remains at about 90 percent.

"In the case of taking only 2-doses, it finds protection against severe disease drops to around 70 percent after 3 months and to 50 percent after 6 months," the study revealed.

In India, including Odisha, the vaccination programme for the elderly population began in March 2021. While the gap between 2 Covaxin doses has been 30-45 days or say 1.5 months, it's 3-4 months for Covishield.

Why Onslaught In Fully Vaccinated Bhubaneswar?  

In the backdrop of the UK findings, given that the gap between the third wave in the State Capital and the date of the last dose (BMC claimed 100 percent coverage of the eligible population in August) administered to all age groups, including the elderly has been over 90 -days, a rise in mild symptomatic cases are being recorded in January thanks to non-adherence to the Covid behaviour protocol in the city.

The Capital city has today detected 581 new positives as against 638 on January 7. The case detection rate is almost stable in the Capital city as the drop is not salutary.  

UK Vaccine Effectiveness Findings - More Booster Shots Needed?

  • The current data shows the booster dose is continuing to provide high levels of protection against severe disease, even for the most vulnerable older age groups.
  • For this reason, the committee has concluded there is no immediate need to introduce a second booster dose, though this will continue to be reviewed.
  • The above findings hint at the scientific community in countries like the UK are pitching for a dynamic vaccine policy against the ever-mutating Covid-19.
  • The committee said priority should continue to be given to rolling out first booster doses to all age groups.
  • Going by the worldwide trend, it seems India will sooner than later go for precaution shots for all the age groups in the coming days when the third wave is taking a vice-like grip over the country.

The Key Takeaway

A look at the findings of the real data UK study quite clearly suggests that even a booster shot is no sure shot in giving protection from Omicron variant after 3-months. As a consequence, the social vaccine - masking, social distancing and hand washing - will remain the sure antidote against Omicron and its ilk.