Srinagar, Aug 16: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday said Covid-19 vaccine will likely become an annual affair just like the flu vaccine.
“To keep Covid in check and stay ahead of new variants, people may need yearly shots like they do for the flu,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
Dr Hassan said Covid-19 has entered into an endemic stage. It has become yet another infection joining many other diseases that we have learned to live.
Cases will wax and wane. Outbreaks will pop up here and there.
He said while primary vaccination is effective in preventing severe Covid infection, immunity wanes over time
Annual immunization could prevent future societal disruptions and save lives.
“Fall could be the optimal time to get Covid-19 vaccine as Covid could eventually become seasonal similar to flu that peaks in fall and winter,” he added
The DAK President said as Covid-19 continues to evolve with emergence of new variants, we might need to update the vaccine according to the strain circulating at that time.
Omicron and its subvariants infected many vaccinated individuals highlighting the fact that updating Covid-19 vaccines may be necessary to fight future variants and prevent more surges.
In order to have long term efficacy against Covid-19, it may be necessary for vaccines to include multiple variants of the novel virus,” he said adding “this strategy is routinely applied against influenza and all formulations in recent years have included three to four variant forms.”
Dr Nisar said UK has approved Moderna’s updated bivalent vaccine that targets both the original virus and first Omicron strain, known as BA.1.
The tweaked vaccine will now form part of the autumn booster campaign in the country.
“US has requested vaccine manufactures to develop shots that target both the original virus and the latest Omicron strains, known as BA.4/5 which are driving the fresh waves of Covid cases globally and are known to evade vaccine induced immunity,” he said.
“India too is working on Omicron vaccine which will be specific to the BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron strain,” he added.