New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: At the time when there is an acute shortage of vaccines in India and many are struggling to get their second dose, an initially controversial strategy of increasing the gap between the doses has been vindicated by scientific studies to be effective in boosting antibodies by 20 per cent to 300 per cent.

New researches show that a delay in getting the second shot of vaccine allows boosting their protective power by giving the immune system more time to respond to the first inoculation. The U.K was the first to adopt this strategy amidst the massive Coronavirus outbreak last year. Now, India has also increased the gap between Covishield doses to 12-16 weeks.

Here’s all you need to know about whether this decision is effective or not.

How does delay in vaccines help in building more antibodies?

According to some researches the first shot primes the immune system allowing it to start producing antibodies against the virus. The longer this shot is allowed to mature, the better it is for the second booster to build upon. The benefit of longer dose intervals is seen across all types of vaccines.

In a study, it was found that people over the age of 80 who were given Pfizer and BioNTech SE- mRNA vaccine showed an antibody response that was 3.5 times higher if they took the second dose after three months instead of 3 weeks. Other studies also conclude that delaying the final shot for 9 to 15 weeks can avert more hospitalization, deaths, and infection.

Experts have also suggested that delaying the second dose could help in vaccinating several hundred thousand people in the country who are waiting to get their first dose amidst the shortage of vaccines in various states.

What are the side effects?

Delaying the interval between the two doses of vaccines would also mean that countries will end up taking more time to protect its population. Plus, the level of protection offered by a single dose isn’t considered to fully immunize the beneficiary until the second dose is administered. The interval between the doses of vaccines is also considered to be dangerous when less potent vaccines are used or more transmissible variants of the virus are circulating.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan