What happens if second COVID-19 dose is delayed?

A woman receives a jab of ‘Covishield’. (File photo/Nepal Live Today)

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Countries across the world have been administering coronavirus vaccines in a bid to stop the pandemic that has gripped the globe for more than a year.

Nepal has been currently inoculating its citizens with ‘Covishield’ and China-manufactured ‘Vero Cell’ vaccines.

The Ministry of Health and Population is currently administrating a second dose of ‘Covishield’ vaccine.

What happens if the second dose is delayed?

Most of the vaccines developed and authorized for emergency use should be administered in two doses. The vaccine currently being used in Nepal is of the same nature and is said will be effective only for both doses taken.

According to Virologist Dr. Luna Bhatta, the second dose should be taken from 28 days to three months after the first dose is taken.

She added that recent researches have shown that antibodies are developed in the body only one month after the first dose is received.

People who have received one shot may have to wait much longer than the recommended three or four weeks to get their second dose.

Spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population Dr. Jageshwor Gautam, however, claimed that even if the second dose is not taken timely, it would not harm much.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines is around 75 percent.

The first dose provides is effective up to 60 percent. The second dose supplements around 12 percent,” he said, adding that WHO had recently stressed prioritizing the first dose than second.

He says WHO has set a three-month gap between the first and second doses, claiming that the second dose can be still given on time.

Communicable disease specialist at Shukraraj Tropical and Communicable Diseases Hospital Dr. Anup Bastola also said that delaying the second dose will not raise any health issues.

“The first dose provides protection for three months, so there is no need to worry if the second dose is delayed,” he said.

People who have received one shot may have to wait much longer than the recommended three or four weeks to get their second dose.

Fortunately, these delays don’t necessarily spell disaster. “It’s really not a problem,” says David Topham, a microbiologist and immunologist at the University of Rochester in New York to Gavi.org.