Hyderabad Omicron News: Spooked by Omicron, many rush to get booster on the sly | Hyderabad News

Hyderabad Omicron News: Spooked by Omicron, many rush to get booster on the sly | Hyderabad News, the vie

HYDERABAD: With rise in Omicron infections across country, panic-stricken people are taking booster shots illegally at corporate hospitals, some with serious side-effects.
This even as experts warn against such actions before a national policy on boosters is released.
Flooded with requests for boosters, doctors say some have even taken a cocktail – two Covishield and two Covaxin doses.
In one such case, a Hyderabadi businessman took a dose of Sputnik after two shots of Covishield and Covaxin, a hospital source and a doctor confirmed. Politicians, healthcare personnel, policemen and businessmen are on top of the list of those taking booster.
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Health experts said that many in Delhi have taken one booster dose after completing vaccination process.
Experts warn that such moves can have serious impact on health.
Omicron can evade immunity from prior infection or vaccination and spread rapidly, according to experts. Scientific organisations across the globe are talking about developing a variant-specific booster or a pan-coronavirus vaccine. So, until then, masks, hand hygiene and social distancing are crucial.
“We don’t yet have evidence that a booster will help against Omicron. The rise of antibodies is not the only protection against the virus. Misinformed people are taking a booster dose, and it’s happening mostly because hospitals and companies want to get rid of their stocks before it expires,” Dr Sanjay Rai, professor, department of community medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told TOI.
‘Two-dose regimen largely effective so far’
Look at Singapore, South Korea, US and UK. Many cases of breakthrough infections are happening after vaccinations,” said Dr Rai, also the president of Indian Public Health Association.
Dr JC Suri, director at Fortis Rajan Dhal hospital in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, said he has asked those who have enquired on the third dose to wait for the policy on boosters.
In Hyderabad, Dr P Raghu Ram, director, KIMS-Ushalakshmi Centre for Breast Diseases, said demand for boosters has reached alarming levels. “Covid-19 vaccines have been brought out in shortest possible time… So, we know very little about its long-term side-effects. It will be prudent to take a booster only if it has been proven beneficial,” he said.
“Despite the emergence of Omicron, hospitals are not overwhelmed with admissions,” Raghu Ram said. “Most importantly, there has been no significant increase in patients with severe disease or deaths. It would be reasonable to assume that the two-dose regimen has largely been effective.”
Experts have urged following Covid-appropriate behaviour. “Properly worn masks remain the first line of defence, irrespective of variant,” said Dr Anurag Agrawal, chair of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 and director, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology.
Dr NK Arora, co-chair, of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium told TOI that avoiding large gatherings and wearing masks is crucial at the moment. “At this stage, three things can save us. Wearing a proper well-fitted mask, avoiding crowded areas and complete vaccination,” said Dr Saumitra Das, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics.

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