Covid-19 vaccine: One dose isn’t enough. Govt explains why you need both

A-health-worker administering COVID-19-vaccine at Government hospital Shri-Maharaja-Gulab-Singh at Jammu

The Centre on Friday released a video on why citizens need to take two doses of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Dr Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, explained the importance of getting two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The clip issued on the Press Information Bureau’s (PIB)’s Twitter account.

The AIIMS chief said the first Covid-19 vaccine dose, known as the “prime dose”, prepares the human immune system to build antibodies. However, these antibodies that are generated with the first dose won’t last for a long time and will gradually wane with time, according to the senior doctor. After the second dose, called the “booster dose”, the immune system receives the boost to produce a large number of antibodies, Dr Guleria said, adding that 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 AIIMS director said. Dr Guleria urged citizens to get the two essential doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for optimum protection against the coronavirus disease.

The Union ministry of health and family welfare, in its official Covid-19 related guidelines, states that an individual needs to take two doses of the vaccine, 28 days apart, to complete the vaccination schedule since protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommend taking the second vaccine dose as close to the required interval as possible. If the second dose cannot be taken within the specified timeframes, it can be given up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose as well, CDC’s guidelines state. It is not yet known if delaying the second dose longer than the aforementioned timeframe has an impact on the immune system’s response to the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, India extended its record daily run of new Covid-19 infections on Friday, with 217,353 fresh cases, according to the Union health ministry. This marks the eighth record daily increase in the last nine days and took total cases to nearly 14.3 million. India’s case count is second only to the United States, which has reported more than 31 million infections. The Covid-19 death toll in India rose by 1,185 over the past 24 hours — the highest single-day rise in seven months — to reach a total of 174,308, the health ministry reported.


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