Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday said booster dose from a Covid-19 vaccine that is different from the one used for initial vaccination offers better protection.
“Booster shots from a different vaccine are highly effective in preventing Covid-19 infection,” said DAK President and Influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Quoting Cov-Boost study from UK, Dr Hassan said the immune response increases significantly if Novavax is used as a booster after two doses of AstraZeneca (known as Covishield in India) and a further increase is seen with the inclusion of mRNA vaccine.
“The study showed that the booster dose of Covishied increased the antibody levels by 3.25, while a booster shot of Covavax increased the same by eight times and mRNA vaccine boosted the titers by 24 times,” he said.
Novavax, a US-based protein vaccine which is manufactured in India under the brand name Covavax was recently approved by central drug authority, CDSCO.
The DAK President said mixing different vaccines is called heterologous prime-boost and it trains the body’s immune system to recognize the virus in more than one way.
“Interchangeability of vaccines could make the fight against Covid-19 stronger and help prevent and control the spread of Covid-19 in communities,” he added.
“Of the approved vaccines, we have data for Covavax as a better booster,” said Dr Nisar.
“So it is reasonable to change booster to Covavax to those who have received two doses of Covishield than another dose of the same vaccine,” he said.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshsad Ali said booster shot is the third or the additional dose of Covid-19 vaccine given to ensure the protection is maintained against the new variants.
“While two doses of Covid-19 vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease, the immunity begins to wane after a period of 6 months,” he said.
Spokesperson DAK Dr Riyaz Ahmad Dagga said with the emergence of new omicron variant, booster shot becomes crucial.
“Booster doses have been found to offer protection against the highly transmissible omicron variant,” he said.
“While India will start administering booster shots from January 10, the government is yet to take a call on whether it will allow switching of vaccine or the third dose will continue to be the same as the primary vaccine,” he added.