With the discovery of the new Covid-19 variant AY.4.2 in India, experts urged citizens to take their second dose of coronavirus vaccine without showing any negligence as it helps boost memory cells and contributes to the sustainability of protection.

Quoting senior scientist Raman Gangakhhidkar, former head of the Department of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Time of India reported that “the second dose ensures that it boosts not only virus-specific antibodies but also T cells. (T lymphocytes) ) – memory cells that are part of a broader immune response against the virus. They (the second dose) also increase the durability of protection. It is important to adhere to the evidence obtained by the manufacturer through vaccine trials and to take two doses. The single dose and the duration for which it will protect is lacking. Currently to the data”.

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Dr Sanjay Bhojari, an infectious disease expert and member of the National Covid-19 Task Force, told Time of India that a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine “improves the breadth of the immune response and ensures continuity of the same”.

Referring to some studies, Dr. Bujari said that lower efficacy of the vaccine was observed after the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine compared to after the second injection. “It is therefore essential to complete the vaccination schedules in a timely manner to ensure optimal protection,” Bujari quoted Bujari as saying.

Recently, the government said about 11 crores of people, who took the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine, did not get a second dose even after the time limit between two doses had expired. Government data showed that more than Rs 3.92 crore was behind her second dose by more than six weeks, about 1.57 crore was up to four to six weeks, and over 1.50 crore was up to two to four weeks behind her second date of either Kofeshield or cofaxine.

Also, more than Rs 3.38 crore is late to get the full vaccination up to two weeks. This topic was discussed at a meeting chaired by Federal Minister of Health Mansukh Mandavia with health ministers and representatives of all states and union territories on Wednesday. Official sources said they were asked to focus on those beneficiaries who were behind their due date for the second dose.

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The gap between the first and second doses is 12 weeks for CofeShield and four weeks for Cofaxine. Both doses are necessary for adequate protection against severe Covid-19 infection and hospitalization. Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Bihar together account for about 49 percent of those recipients who are late for their second dose of the vaccine.

The union health ministry has also written to several states and UTs asking them to prioritize administration of the second dose to beneficiaries who did not receive a second injection even after the specified period between the two doses has expired, according to the sources. More than 76 per cent of India’s adult population has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, with nine states and union territories giving the first dose to all eligible people.

The eleven states and the United States that have completed second-dose coverage for more than 50 percent of eligible beneficiaries are Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Goa and Ladakh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Daman, Diu, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir. More than 32 per cent of the country’s 94 crore adults have been given both doses, health ministry officials said, adding that the cumulative doses given in the country so far under the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign has exceeded Rs 103.53 crore.

(with input from PTI)

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