Srinagar, Jan 25: With US Food and Drug Administration’s proposal for annual Covid-9 vaccine, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday termed the move reasonable.
“Shifting the strategy from multiple Covid-19 vaccine boosters to once a year shot makes lot of sense,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said as per the recommendations, people may need yearly Covid shots as they do for the flu.
“Most individuals may only need to receive one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. However elderly, immunocompromised and children 2 years or younger may need 2 shots,” he said.
Currently, everyone 6 months and older are required to complete primary vaccination series before they get booster dose months later.
The DAK President said multiple vaccination formulas and schedules complicate vaccine administration and also discourage people from getting vaccinated.
“Simplifying the vaccine schedule may increase vaccine uptake,” he said.
“Moving away from primary vaccination series is appropriate noting that most people have some form of immunity from prior Covid infection even if they haven’t yet been vaccinated.”
Dr Nisar said annual vaccination is a logical step as Covid-19 had entered into an endemic stage and become yet another infection joining many other diseases that people have learned to live with.
“Evidence shows that while antibody immunity against Covid begins to wane after five or six months, protection against hospitalization, severe disease, and death remains intact a year out for many,” he said.
“Autumn could be the optimal time to get the Covid-19 vaccine as Covid could eventually become seasonal similar to flu that peaks in autumn and winter,” he added.
General Secretary DAK Dr Arshad Ali said as Covid-19 continues to evolve with the emergence of new variants, there might be a need to update the vaccine according to the strain circulating at that time.
“To have long-term efficacy against Covid-19, it may be necessary for vaccines to include multiple variants of the novel virus,” he said adding “this strategy is routinely applied against influenza and all formulations in recent years have included three to four variant forms,” he said.