Friday, 21 January, 2022

It's time to hold discussions on COVID-19 booster dose in Nepal: Dr. Pun


By TRN Online, Kathmandu, Oct. 22: Many countries across the globe including China, the USA, and the UK among others have already started providing booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines to their citizens.

The booster doses are being administered after six months of being vaccinated in order to increase the level of antibodies to fight the virus.

Meanwhile, six months have already crossed since the Nepal government started the anti-coronavirus vaccination drive.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Sher Bahadur Pun of Teku Hospital said, "Time has come to lobby for the booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines as those who got inoculated in the first phase might require the booster dose."

According to Dr. Pun, various reports worldwide had revealed that the level of antibodies would decrease after six months of vaccination. Thus, booster dose might be required in our country as well, he added.

Although the majority of the population in Nepal are yet to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is wrong to say that the booster doses are not required here, said Dr. Pun.

"The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has informed that only around 33 per cent of the population above 18 years of age have received the full dose of anti-coronavirus vaccine," he said, "The remaining 67 per cent population are still waiting to be inoculated."

Thus, along with providing vaccines to the 67 per cent population, the government must consider managing booster doses for those who have already received the full dose of vaccine, added Dr. Pun.

Dr. Pun said that the government's foremost responsibility should be to protect the citizens by all means. "Therefore, a booster dose should be provided by checking the antibody level of those who have been fully vaccinated," he said.

He claimed that many vaccinated groups might not have developed antibodies at all. "Many vaccinated people who come to us for health checkups were not found to have developed antibodies. These people, senior citizens, and those suffering from chronic disease need a booster dose," said Dr. Pun.

Stating that the National Health Research Council (NHRC) had published a preliminary report a few days earlier revealing that the COVID-19 antibodies start to decrease after two months of being vaccinated, Dr. Pun said that it was the right time to open discussions for managing booster doses.