The Government has been constantly urging the citizens to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as it will help in immunizing the population and curbing the spread of the virus. The extent of the spread of the pandemic and the number of mortalities are at an all-time high in India. Therefore, the Centre on Friday released a video to explain the importance of the vaccine and to inform the citizens that it is necessary to take both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to generate immunity against the virus.
The video clip was issued on the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) Twitter account. In the clip, Dr Randeep Guleria, director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi explained the importance of both doses of the vaccine.
According to the AIIMS Chief, the first dose, also known as the ‘prime dose’ accelerates the human immune system and prepares the human body to build antibodies. However, when the antibodies are generated after the first dose, these antibodies won’t stay in the body for a long duration. They are bound to wane with time. Therefore, only after the second dose, also known as the ‘booster dose’, the immune system receives a boost to produce a large number of antibodies. Dr Guleria added, “It gives good ‘cell-mediated immunity, another defence mechanism against the Coronavirus infection. It also stimulates what we call your memory cells so that the body remembers this infection for the long-term and is able to quickly produce anti-bodies later on as well if you get this infection.”
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had released a set of official Covid-19 related guidelines in which it had stated that it is absolutely essential for individuals to take both doses of vaccine, 28 days apart. Only then, the vaccination schedule can be deemed completed. The protective levels of antibodies are generated in a time span of two weeks after the booster dose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in its official guidelines, had also stated that it is necessary to take the second dose of the vaccine. However, if due to any reasons, a person is not able to take the second dose within the given timeframe, it can be taken up to six weeks (42 days) after the prime dose.
India now stands to be the second worst-hit country with the Covid-19 pandemic with cases nearly rising to 14.3 million.