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Sunday October 2nd, 2022

Sri Lanka doctors say Covid-19 booster can slash hospitalization by 90-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – A third booster dose slashes Coronavirus hospitalizations by 90 percent, and two doses blocks hospitalization up to 50 percent, health experts who are urging the public to take freely offered vaccines said.

Though the public showed a great interest in taking the first two doses of the Coronavirus, the public was showing less enthusiasm in taking the third dose. It could be due to misinformation and lack of knowledge.

The third dose was especially valuable for the population over 65 years.

Though Sri Lanka’s hospitalization and deaths have dropped from earlier highs, doctors are now seeing a trend rate increase.

“As a result of the vaccination we have seen a great decrease of patients,” Ananda Wijewickrama, Senior Consultant Physician at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases said.

“But we observe that it has started increasing in the past few weeks. And we also have identified several patients with the Omicron variant as well.”

With Omicron is more transmissible than the Delta variant, there was a big possibility or another Covid-19 wave with more patients being found, though the severity is low.

The third dose was valuable for Omicron as well.

“It is important to follow health guidelines,” Wijewickrama said. “If we can do that we can minimize the spreading. And the important of booster is the immunity we gain reduces over time.

“It happens with any other vaccines as well. The booster dose is to increase our immunity we gained and even if we get the Omicron, we can avoid death as well as going to severe condition.”

A UK study had showed that three months after taking the second jab the immunity drops to around 70 percent against the Coronavirus and after taking the booster it will go back to around 90 percent, President, Sri Lanka College of Internal Medicine, National Hospital, Harsha Sathischandra said.

“Just after getting the booster dose, the rate of getting infected with the virus reduced by 50 percent and after three-month even, the rate of not getting infected will remain around 30 percent,” Sathischandra said.

“Why stay in danger when we have the alternative of taking the booster.”

Around 10 million people who are eligible for the booster have not taken the booster though Sri Lanka has enough stocks.

Covid-19 is a rapidly changing virus, and the data showed with immunity reducing over time a booster dose is needed.

Whether more doses of the vaccine, such as an annual one is needed has not yet been determined.

“There is a question in the community asking whether we will have to have a vaccine for the rest of our lives,” Department of Immunology andMolecular and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, NeelikaMalavige said.

“Every vaccine we take from infant stage except for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), requires more than three doses,”

“We do not expect that a vaccine will be needed continuously in the future. Maybe elderly people may get more doses with the new variants. But there is no data to prove that it will be same for everyone,” Malavige said. (Colombo/ Jan 13/2021)

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