India is trying to vaccinate as many people as possible against COVID-19. However, owing to the large population of the country and shortage in supply of vaccines, people have been finding it difficult to get themselves vaccinated.
As a result of this, in some cases, people who have received the first dose of the vaccine are now missing the scheduled/recommended timeline for their second jab.
If you have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and are wondering what to do if you don't get a vaccination slot within the stipulated time interval for the second dose, read on to find out more.
Double Dose Vaccination: Prime and Boost Immunization
The double dose regimen being followed for COVID-19 vaccination is called Prime and Boost Immunization (providing protection against a disease, mainly by vaccination).
Vaccination helps your immune system develop protection from a disease by producing antibodies against the disease-causing agent. One dose of a vaccine may not be enough to grant sufficient protection against a disease.
Thus, through double dose vaccination, the first dose primes (stimulating your immune response with an antigen to produce immunity to a disease-causing organism) the immune system and the second dose boosts (re-exposure to the antigen to increase immunity against that antigen) the primed immune system.
The dosage and the duration between the doses depend on the causative virus and the vaccine.
Ideal Gap Between Doses For COVID-19 Vaccines
Currently, three COVID-19 vaccines are being administered across India and the recommended gap between the two doses of each vaccine are:
What Happens If You Miss The Time Slot For Your Second Dose?
As per experts, it is advisable to follow the interval recommended by each vaccine manufacturer for the highest antibody response in your body. However, there are usually no side effects even if you are unable to get the second dose within the recommended interval.
As per the available data, experts suggest that the antibody response might be adequate for the recommended timelines. If the interval exceeds by more than 1 to 2 weeks after the recommended period, the antibody response might not be as strong as expected.
However, you do not need to start the vaccination cycle again or take a new Covid vaccine, as the first dose of the initial vaccine will have an effect on your body. So, you should try to get the second shot of the same initial vaccine as soon as possible, within or after the recommended time interval.
Note: It is best to take both doses of the same vaccine brand. Presently, due to the shortage of vaccines in India, it is advised NOT to take different brands of vaccine for your first and second dose.
Experts agree that the partial immunity from the first dose will diminish over time if it is not boosted by the second dose. Thus, if you get infected with COVID-19, you could have a moderate to severe illness.
Hence, while a delay of a few weeks from your stipulated vaccination period may not impact the efficacy of the vaccine, the second shot is very important for increased protection against COVID-19.
If there has been a significant delay in getting the second dose of the vaccine, consult your doctor on how to proceed with the vaccination.
So get vaccinated as soon as you can, and continue to follow all the precautionary measures to protect yourself against COVID-19. Stay home and stay safe!
1. Houstonmethodist.org. 2021. What Happens If I Miss My Second Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine?. [online] Available at: <https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/mar/what-happens-if-i-miss-my-second-dose-of-covid-19-vaccine/> [Accessed 21 May 2021].
2 Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Why It’s Important to Get Your Second COVID-19 Vaccine Dose. [online] Available at: <https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-its-important-to-get-your-second-covid-19-vaccine-dose/> [Accessed 21 May 2021].
Disclaimer: This article is written by Practo for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.