Why there is a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Why there is a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Photo by Mat Napo / Unsplash

Considering the upheavals triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent requirement of an effective vaccine, every nation had faced many challenges. In order to develop and distribute a vaccine safely, the medical workforce and researchers around the globe worked and still working around the clock to curb the inevitable challenges brought by Coronavirus.

Pfizer is the first company to roll out vaccines in the market. First introduced in the UK on January 4/2021. Whereas, India’s drug regulator approved two vaccines Covishield and Covaxin which rolled out on 16 January.

People missing the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is a big story these days. Why there is a second dose of the vaccine?

As per FDA analysis, for the Pfizer vaccine the study confirms that there is an efficacy rate of 95% after the second dose meanwhile there appears to be a level of protection after the first dose though there are no live data to claim it.

Plausible that delaying or missing the second dose or getting the second dose too early might limit the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Nobody knows the adverse effects of taking one dose of the COVID vaccine and missing out on the other (second dose). Some speculations brewing about people missing the second dose might come across a new sort of strain, under those circumstances, another vaccine would require to fight such strain. In simple words, people should really not jumble with the planned vaccine dosages as of now any nation won’t be able to afford such new challenges.

It is highly recommended by the health authorities to follow the full course of any treatment to be fully effective.

After reading the above statement the first question crosses anyone’s mind must be, what will happen if someone misses the second COVID-19 Vaccine dose?

Well, so far the Scientists had recommended not to mix-up the vaccine course, missing or delaying the second dose will provide less significant results (decrease the efficacy of the vaccine) as it is claimed to be more effective after the second dose.

There is a regimen that if someone had taken a Pfizer vaccine, they should get a second dose after 21 days, but delaying it by a day or two still can be manageable, though more than that delay might not help. The way these vaccines were studied and rolled out urgently, it’s too early to make any comments about what kind of antibody immune response people will get after delaying the second dose or missing it. Also, what is more, important than getting vaccinated right now? Shouldn’t we make it our top priority?

Concerns like can you spread COVID-19 after you get your two doses of the vaccine? Again it is unknown as the clinical trial data showed, that there is a 94 to 95 per cent reduction in the risk of getting COVID-19 in particular severely ill cases but there is no mention about spreading or infecting others, so everything is a mystery until now.

People being curious and asking a lot of questions especially since different vaccines introduced in the market. First, the foremost concerned is can we take one dose from one supplier and a second from another supplier? The answer to this question is again; there is no safety data tested yet to confirm all these things, so we have no other choice but to stick with the course of any vaccine and not mix them.

Whereas, the concerned of some people are reasonable as they are getting adverse effects. But should you worry about COVID Vaccine side effects? Most common adverse effects seen so far are fever, chills, tiredness, pain/swelling, headache which lasts for 2–3 days. Again, it does not mean people who didn’t get any symptoms didn’t get the immune response.

So far the conclusion of research and expert’s advice that skipping a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine could actually undermine effort to stop the pandemic, which can push us back in the diabolic situation. By getting vaccinated, we not only protect ourselves but become the part of the solution to end this Pandemic.

Why there is a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
By Benzeer Siddique, Health Economist, Sanrachana