Healthcare Workers, Politicians Secretly Taking Covid-19 Booster Shots in Mumbai: Report

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Healthcare workers, politicians and their staff have taken the third shot at various hospitals in Mumbai, either without registration on Co-win or by using a different phone number, according to a report by Times of India. Many are believed to have got antibody levels screened before taking it.

A shot though offered in several western nations, remains a hotly debated subject. The Centre said on Thursday that it was not a priority, indicating that a decision on third dose may not be imminent.

Booster dose may be given to vaccinated people with lower antibody levels as 20 percent of the inoculated people have failed to develop antibodies against Covid-19, an expert has said earlier this week.

According to a report in The New Indian Express, around 23 percent of the faculty members of a research unit in Bhubaneswar were found to be antibody negative during a recent study after two doses of vaccine against Coronavirus.

Dr Ajay Parida, Director of Bhubaneswar-based Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) suggested that the booster dose will be given to those with lower antibodies and said, “Though the antibody level is 30,000 to 40,000 in some Covid infected people, it is below 50 in significant number of vaccinated individuals. If the antibody level is 60 to 100, then we can say the person is antibody positive.”

The Bhubaneswar-based institute is a part of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Consortium (INSACOG), a network of 28 labs across the country equipped to sequence genomes of the coronavirus for emerging variants.

The report also stated that the antibody level was seen to come down after four to six months in many people, vaccinated with both the doses. Ajay Parida said that the booster dose is required for those having low or negative antibodies despite full vaccination.

He also said that the clinical study is in its final stage and added that the efficacy of Indian vaccines- Covishield and Covaxin is about 70-80 percent which indicates that around 20-30 percent of those vaccinated may not develop antibodies.

Parida added that ICMR may approve the booster dose based on the outcome of the clinical trial. “Trial is on whether the booster dose will be Covaxin for people vaccinated with Covishield and vice-versa or Sputnik V for people vaccinated with either Covaxin or Covishield. The study is expected to be over in a week,” he reportedly said.

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