VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Health authorities say that a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine could be an option in the future, to further boost the body’s immune system against new Covid strains such as the Delta variant.
Studies are underway in Laos on the effectiveness of a third dose of vaccine to prevent new variants taking hold, in close cooperation with the World Health Organization.
Director General of the Department of Communicable Disease Control under the Ministry of Health, Dr Rattanaxay Phetsouvanh, on Tuesday (Sept 14)told Vientiane Times that studies are taking place to try to determine whether a third dose of Covid vaccine would boost immunity.
There are concerns that the spike in Covid cases in Laos and numerous other countries is due to the spread of the more infectious Delta variant, which was first detected in India.
Many people have expressed interest in a booster shot or third vaccination but at this stage there is no scientific evidence provided by the World Health Organization or the Lao Ministry of Health supporting the use of a booster shot for extra immunity, Dr Rattanaxay said.
The ministry has received reports that some people in Laos have attempted to get a booster shot at vaccination centres despite the fact that the government has yet to approve the booster shot, he added.
Studies indicate that people contracting the virus in Laos do so because they have not had two doses of a Covid vaccine or have not been vaccinated at all.
“If everyone has two doses of a vaccine it may not be necessary to give a third dose,” Dr Rattaxay said.
Some countries are starting to offer third doses to older people. Israel and Australia started delivering third doses to people over 60 in late July before providing boosters to younger age groups in August.
A third dose for people of all ages could ultimately be used to generate optimal immunity against Covid-19. Some preprint studies suggest immunity can modestly decline by about three months after the second dose.
As of Sept 12, some 2,663,816 people in at-risk groups in Laos had received their first vaccination, while 1,865,187 people had received a second dose, according to the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.
People can register online for vaccinations at health centres in their district and everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.