SII chairman Cyrus Poonawalla says booster dose of Covishield desirable

​​"After six months, the antibodies go down and that is why I have taken the third dose. We have given the third dose to our seven to eight thousand SII employees. For those who have completed the second dose, it is my request to take a booster dose (third dose) after six months," he said.

The ideal gap between two doses of Covishield is two months and another dose of the vaccine should be taken after six months, the Serum Institute of India (SII) chairman Cyrus Poonawalla said here on Friday.

Asked about a report in the medical journal Lancet that antibodies against coronavirus created by Covishield, the vaccine manufactured by the SII, decrease after some time, Poonawalla told reporters that it was true that the antibodies decrease, but “memory cells” remain.

“After six months, the antibodies go down and that is why I have taken the third dose. We have given the third dose to our seven to eight thousand SII employees. For those who have completed the second dose, it is my request to take a booster dose (third dose) after six months,” he said.

He was speaking at a press conference after receiving the prestigious Lokmanya Tilak award here. The ideal gap between two doses of Covishield is two months, he said. “Since there was a shortage of vaccine, the Modi government changed it to three months, but a two-month gap is ideal,” Poonawalla said. He also said that lockdown was not an effective way to deal with the virus.

“Because if there is no lockdown, the disease will be there in the beginning but later the herd immunity will prevail. Why I prefer herd immunity is because the death rate (due to coronavirus) is very low. Lockdown is a good option when the death rate is high,” he said.

In most cases deaths were caused by negligence and delay in reporting the infection to doctors, he claimed.

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