Mukesh Kochar, who has been treating Covid patients at Belle Vue Clinic for over a year now, said the second dose might not be required after all in such patients, as the Covid infection after the first dose might act as a “booster” for the immune system, which has already been “primed” with the first jab. “I am treating six such patients, and decided against the second dose for them,” he added.
This is in line with what some studies conducted abroad indicate.
A 55-year-old resident of Loudon Street, who took the first dose of Covishield two weeks ago, tested positive four days later. The fever and symptoms were mild, and hence she is being treated at home. She will not be given the second dose of the vaccine by her doctor.
Another patient, a 68-year-old resident of a housing complex off the EM Bypass, took the first dose on March 3 and tested Covid-positive on March 21. His symptoms were mild, and he was treated at home. The treating doctor has withheld the second dose of vaccine for him. He has similarly withheld the second dose for two ladies, 68- and 65-year-old residents of Middleton Street and Rabindra Sarani.
Some doctors bat for a must shot of second dose
One thing is very important, though. For all such patients, an antibody test is a must, done three weeks after testing Covid-negative, doctors said. This is to check the antibody levels. If the report indicates the levels are enough, there is no need for the second dose. They say that there are no clear guidelines available yet because the disease is throwing up new patterns daily.
There are some, however, who strongly recommend a second dose to such patients. Among them is Raja Dhar, director of pulmonology,
CMRI Hospital. “There is as yet no data to show that a second shot is redundant for those who get the infection after the first dose. So, it should definitely be taken, but at least after six weeks of testing positive for Covid,” he said.
“We need to study a few things,” said Samudra Gooptu, who has also been treating patients for over a year now.
“The timing of the first dose and the approximate timing of the infection, whether there are symptoms. The infection contracted after the first dose will invariably create antibodies and a test for that will show whether we need the second dose at all. It is likely to work as the second dose, but there are no clear guidelines, so we are all researching,” he said.
This current wave is different from the first in many respects. The response, however, should be similar; its most important aspect remains risk-averse behaviour.