Third Covid jab to counter another wave? Anxious doctors, nurses take booster shots in Bengaluru
Many of the doctors TNIE spoke to said they are anxious as they are seeing breakthrough infections, ICU admissions, fatalities and waning antibodies among those immunised with both doses.
BENGALURU: Even as the Union health ministry is “working” on a policy for the third dose of Covid-19 jab, anxious healthcare workers and doctors in Karnataka are jumping the gun and silently taking booster shots.
Many of the doctors TNIE spoke to took their first jab in January 2021 and second one almost eight months ago.
They said they are “anxious” as they are seeing breakthrough infections, ICU admissions, fatalities and waning antibodies among those immunised with both doses.
“Not just government, even private hospital doctors are doing this. We are educated and are following research that’s out,” said a doctor from a Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute hospital.
Dr CN Manjunath, member of Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee and Director of Jayadeva Hospital, said he is aware of this trend.
Many are taking the third jab out of fear -- they are checking antibody levels, and if there is an indication of waning, they are opting for the jab.
However, there is no protocol announced yet.
“With people hesitating to take the second dose, healthcare workers feel they are at risk. Especially with reports of breakthrough infections, ICU admissions and some minute population succumbing to it, doctors are worried. Taking a booster is not dangerous but there’s no policy yet so it’s better to refrain,” he said.
A head nurse from a private hospital on Bannerghatta Road said, “I was told to check my antibody level. It had waned, so I got my third jab,” she said.
However, a senior doctor explained that waning of antibodies is not the same as absence of immune response.
“Antibodies will taper off. When an antigen hits again, the antibodies will mount and can even come out strongly to protect the individual if he/she is young, and not immuno-compromised,” he said.
Epidemiologist Dr Giridhara Babu, who is also a member of TAC, said that flu shots are given every year as the virus keeps changing.
“In case of Covid-19, it is gamma variant which is infectious and after that, no variant has been more infectious. So we don’t know yet whether annual boosters are needed,” he said.
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar quoted Dr NK Arora, co-chair of INSACOG, as saying that they have been working on a policy document regarding administering a booster dose for the past three weeks, which will be made public soon.