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Health experts: No need to panic if 2nd Covid-19 vaccine shot is delayed

  • Published at 01:47 pm February 18th, 2021
Vaccine campaign Bangladesh
File photo of a health worker administering a jab during the ongoing nationwide Covid-19 vaccine campaign Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

France recommended that people who have already recovered from the disease should be considered to receive only one shot of the vaccine

The health authorities have finally decided to longer the interval between the two shots of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which is a concerned to many in case they miss the second shot.

Virologists and renowned research organizations concerned said there is a little to worry if one cannot get the second dose of vaccine on the scheduled date.  

A person would not be immunized soon after being vaccination. It works slowly. It takes time to build up the protection shield inside the body and giving a longer interval might cause the protection to fall again. 

Physicians said the second Covid-19 vaccine dose, which is called the booster shot, further boosts the immune system of the vaccinated person while the first vaccine shot is designed to train the body to recognize the killer virus and ramp up the immune system.

Clinical trials also showed that immunity against the disease was significantly higher after individuals received two shots.

Therefore, a certain interval time is required for the immune system to fully react to the first dose, so that it can get the maximum benefit from the second shot.  

Several research in Europe and USA reflect the likewise and they said that the vaccine could be administrated within an interval of 4-12 weeks.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca trial, an interim analysis of four randomized controlled trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK, which was published at medical journal “Lancet” on January 9 showed that the participants who had a longer gap developed stronger immunity. 

It validated UK’s decision and following what World Health Organization (WHO) was also made a similar recommendation on February 10. 

Although there is a shortage of data, US Food and Drug Administration and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January said that a little more spacing in between the doses apart from the scheduled time may not hurt. 

They said that the second vaccine could be received as many as four days early, or 42 days after the first dose.

Eminent Virologists, Prof Dr Nazrul Islam feels the same and said there is nothing to worry if any one fails to take the second shot on time. 

Although the required data is yet to be arrived, characteristics of such viruses shows that although it might not be enough but the first dose would provide some sort of protection. 

“Delaying a few days is okay. But to be protected more, everyone must take the both doses,” he added.

Considering one shot for recovered Covid-19 patients 

Gavi, the vaccine Allaince, in an article published last month expressed that vaccine supply shortages, fragmented, underfunded healthcare systems could make people, who have received the first jab, to wait much longer than the schedule time for their second dose.

Observing the global crisis of Covid-19 vaccines, France on February 12 recommended that people who have already recovered from the disease should be considered to receive only one shot of the vaccine. 

Public health authority of France, the first country of the world that issue such an advice, said that people who had already been infected with Covid-19 develop an immune response similar to that bestowed by a vaccine dose, and that a single dose after infection would likely be sufficient.  

Former vice chancellor of BSMMU, Prof Nazrul Islam believes this is equally applicable for Bangladesh as well. 

He said: “It will save a good number of vaccines to be administrated to others as well. 

“Government should consider the thoughts and disclose related information to the people. So, that they could have public trust while making such decision like France.” 

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