Vaccination is a strong weapon against coronavirus infection. The Government of India has been running vaccination drives to ensure the safety of its citizens from Covid-19. The country has cumulatively administered over 18 crore doses of vaccine to its people till May 15.
Of the total 18,04,57,579 vaccine doses administered in the country, 66,22,040 healthcare workers, 81,49,613 frontline workers, 87,56,313 beneficiaries aged 45 to 60 years, and 1,75,53,918 beneficiaries of more than 60 years of age have been administered their second dose of the covid-19 vaccine.
Covid vaccines currently being administered in the country are two dose-specific- the first dose acts as a prime dose and the second dose works as a booster. It is of utmost importance that every eligible person for a vaccine shot must take both doses of the vaccine.
**What does the first dose do?**
The first dose of vaccine does not produce protective immunity and only prepares the immune system to fight against the infection.
According to All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Director, Dr. Randeep Guleria, the first dose of a vaccine is known as a prime dose. It primes our immune system to build antibodies. However, these antibodies do not last for a longer time in the body and gradually veins out. This makes the second dose more important.
**Why is the second dose of vaccine important?**
The second dose of the vaccine is known as a booster dose. It helps in boosting the immunity of the body to produce a large number of antibodies.
According to Dr. Guleria, the second dose triggers the immune system and gives ‘good cell immunity’ to the body. Good cell immunity is an important defence mechanism of the body against infection.
The second dose also stimulates the memory cells so that the body remembers the infection in the long run and helps to produce antibodies quickly in case of reinfection.
** Minimises vaccine wastage**
Vaccine wastage is a known contingency, however, it has to be within recommended limits. Vaccine wastage is directly linked with vaccine usage.
When people eligible for the vaccine dose do not turn up, it adds to vaccine wastage through open vials. Thus, getting one’s respective shot can help in minimising vaccine wastage.
Moreover, Cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba on May 11 while reviewing the covid-19 situation in the country emphasised on reducing covid vaccine wastage. He insisted that those eligible for the second dose of vaccination should be given priority to minimise such wastage.
**Benefits of taking the second dose**
– When a person takes both the doses of the vaccine, only then they are ‘fully vaccinated’.
– Being fully vaccinated ensures that the chances of getting the infection or reinfection in the future are minimised.
– After having both the doses, the chances of getting your disease severe decreases and the body fights the infection in a much better manner.