We were able to breathe a sigh of relief after the successful development and marketing of coronavirus vaccines all over the world.

Although we have been aware of the occurrence of breakthrough infections throughout time, the existing vaccines have proven to be effective against the SARs-COV-2 virus and have greatly reduced the risk of hospitalisation and mortality.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines, however, is 100 percent effective. Due to the continued emergence of novel variations that are not only transmissible but also have the ability to evade vaccine-induced immunity, a second dosage may be required to boost the immune response and protect oneself from infection after a certain amount of time.

While there are no definitive answers as to whether we’ll need a yearly COVID shot similar to the flu vaccination, here’s everything you need to know right now.

Will Emerging Variants Challenge Existing COVID Vaccines?

New issues arise as new varieties emerge. While the Delta variant was one of the deadliest of its kind, causing severe lung damage, severe, distressing symptoms and, in the worst-case scenario, many deaths, the Omicron variant—which is comparatively milder—is said to be highly transmissible and capable of evading natural and vaccine-induced immunity.

This is due to the fact that the most recent variety of concern is thought to have over 50 mutations, allowing it to spread quickly and evade immune defences.

However, the fact that the efficiency of the existing vaccines wanes over time continues to be a matter of concern. The vaccine’s effectiveness and efficacy are unlikely to be the same as before.

A COVID-19 vaccination with a high efficacy rate does not necessarily imply that it will be effective in the real world. Most of the time, the vaccine’s effectiveness varies owing to circumstances that occur in the actual world.

Furthermore, because the coronavirus strain is constantly evolving, one vaccine may not be effective against all mutant versions. As a result, scientists suggest that existing COVID vaccines be updated or that variant-specific vaccinations be developed in the future.

Vaccines Could Be “Tweaked,” Say Experts

The appearance of the Omicron variant caused widespread concern. Experts noticed that the variant has a number of modifications that allowed it to bypass both natural sickness and vaccination protection.

As a result of these findings, doctors and medical professionals have proposed that existing COVID-19 vaccinations be updated to match the new variations.

Also Read: Why Won’t Our PM’s Photo Be On Vaccination Certificates In These 5 States?

The present COVID-19 vaccinations may need to be altered to ensure that they are effective against Omicron and future coronavirus strains, according to the WHO expert body.

“The composition of current COVID vaccines may need to be updated to ensure that vaccines continue to provide WHO-recommended levels of protection against infection and disease by VOCs, including Omicron and future variants,” they said.

They further added, “COVID-19 vaccines need to… elicit immune responses that are broad, strong and long-lasting in order to reduce the need for successive booster doses.”

The global health agency believes that repeated booster doses of the original vaccine composition is unlikely to be appropriate or sustainable.

Immunity From Prior Immunizations May Be Eroding, Adding Fuel To The Fire

The likelihood of decreasing immunity is another reason why COVID-19 vaccinations may become routine.

Following the first two vaccine doses, the immunizations’ protection may dwindle over time. Experts believe that vaccine-induced immunity declines with time, based on the dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases and the prevalence of breakthrough infections.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Emerging data consistently show a decline in vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV2 infection and COVID-19 with time since vaccination, and more significant decline in older adults.”

What Is The Role Of Booster Shots?

COVID vaccination boosters are an extension of COVID-19 vaccines that help re-expose the body’s immune system to the immunising antigen, which may have faded in memory (after the prior two doses).

Despite the fact that the WHO believes booster injections are not a long-term immunisation strategy, many nations, including India, have started giving the third COVID shot.

While COVID vaccine immunity may wane with time, specialists believe that we may need to strengthen our immune systems more frequently, perhaps every few months or perhaps annually. There is, however, no clear evidence to support this.

Vaccines Tailored To Individual Variants Could Be The Next Stage, But How Effective Will They Be?

Many pharmaceutical behemoths are hoping to create Omicron-specific vaccinations that will particularly target the problematic variation.

Pfizer BioNtech and Moderna have both stated that clinical trials of Omicron-specific vaccinations have begun in the United States. Similarly, Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, based in Pune, is planning to develop India’s first homegrown mRNA-based COVID vaccine.

While Omicron-specific vaccinations are urgently needed, several scientists and specialists have come forth with a counter-argument, claiming that new specimens and strains of the virus develop on a regular basis and that keeping up with them would become extremely difficult.

By the time the vaccine is released, either the infection rate will have decreased or a new variation will have emerged.

Disclaimer: This article has been fact-checked

Sources: Times Of India, Livemint +more

Image Source: Google Images

Find the blogger @ParomaDey

This post is tagged under health, coronavirus, SARs-COV-2, covid, alpha, beta, delta, Omicron, Delmicron, third wave, World Health Organization, third wave, Satyendar Jain, Sutra model, IIT Kanpur, European Medicines Agency, Dr Monica Gandhi, Bloomberg, California University, Professor Ian Jones, University of Reading, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Dr. Mike Ryan, Steve Biko Academic Hospital Complex, UK Health Security Agency, ZOE, National Health Service, Vitamin-D, The Times of Israel, PLOS ONE, Amiel Dror, Galilee Medical Center, rickets, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, reinfection, immunity, US Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Shashank Joshi, Dr Rahul Pandit, Office for National Statistics, University College London, booster, NHS, Angelique Coetzee, South African Medical Association

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