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Do You Still Need Both Doses If You Have Already Had The Infection? WHO Expert Answers COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs

According to the World Health Organisation, people should get a full course of vaccines available to them even if they have had the COVID-19 infection in the past

Do You Still Need Both Doses If You Have Already Had The Infection? WHO Expert Answers COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs
  • The available vaccines are really effective against COVID-19: WHO
  • Vaccines can help in reducing the likelihood of transmission of virus: WHO
  • Even if you are vaccinated it is important to keep wearing a mask: WHO

New Delhi: The COVID-19 vaccine drive is underway in the country and from April 1, all persons above the age of 45 will be able to get themselves immunized against the novel coronavirus that has caused the ongoing pandemic. Currently, all people above the age of 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities are being vaccinated, apart from medical professionals and frontline workers. Even though the country has been on its vaccination journey for about 2.5 months, there are still some misinformation and doubts regarding vaccines against COVID-19. As part of WHO’s conversations in science series, Dr Katherine O’Brien, Epidemiologist and Vaccinologist, answers some of the frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines.

Also Read: COVID-19: Seven Vaccines Candidates In Clinical Trials, Says Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Can vaccination prevent infection, and can a person get COVID-19 or spread the infection to others after getting vaccinated?

Dr Katherine O’Brien: What we know about the vaccines is that these are really effective against the disease. The vaccines are really effective at protecting us from getting a severe case of COVID-19 and hospitalization. The second question we have, though, is do they prevent infection. Of the early evidence that we have, it does look like these vaccines are not only protective against getting symptoms, actually developing disease, but they do seem to also prevent getting infected in your upper respiratory tract. It looks like they might, even if you do get infected, also reduce for how long you are infected. And it also looks in very early data that when you are infected in your respiratory tract, you might have less of the virus in your respiratory tract than if you are not vaccinated. And each of those things would reduce the likelihood that you would transmit that virus to someone else. So, these are really interesting results that are starting to come out.

But I really want to emphasize how early they are. This means that we only have one or two studies. We also don’t have these results for each of the vaccines that are now out there. And as everybody knows, there are a number of vaccines that are being used around the world. So this is the reason why we keep emphasizing that as vaccines are rolling out, as we are in this early phase of the use of vaccines, people need to continue to wear masks and continue the other interventions that are keeping us safe and reducing transmission.

Also Read: When To Take Second Dose Of The COVID-19 Vaccine, How To Register For It, Government Answers These And Other Questions

Do vaccines protect people against coronavirus variants? And also, does it mean that a new variant would have a low impact on people?

Dr Katherine O’Brien: From what we do know about the vaccines that are broadly used around the world is that for most of the variants, the vaccines continue to be effective. These vaccines may not be as effective as these are against the non-variants, but nevertheless, these still have substantial effectiveness against disease.

About other variants that are coming up, we should expect that we are going to continue to see variants pop up and emerge. It is what viruses do. And the vaccine manufacturers are clearly going to and are already adapting vaccines to try to make them as best they can be against a range of variants as we learn more about how those variants are interacting with the vaccines. The most important thing is, this is one of the really big reasons why even if you are vaccinated it is important to keep wearing a mask.

We don’t have the evidence for each of the vaccines, for each of the variants, nor for variants that will come up in the future or about the degree to which the vaccines are protective against people getting infected. They may protect you against getting sick, but you could then go on and transmit to somebody else and they could get sick if they are not vaccinated.

Also Read: COVID Vaccination: Experts Answer Queries Related To Coronavirus Vaccine And Comorbidities

Do people who have already had the infection also need both doses of the COVID-19 vaccines?

Dr Katherine O’Brien: We still recommend that if you have had COVID-19, you should get a full course of the vaccines that are out there and available to you. So, if it is a vaccine that requires two doses, you should get the two doses. We certainly have seen evidence that a single dose of vaccine, especially in people who have had COVID-19 in the past, gives a really strong antibody response. And that is really good news. It shows that the vaccine is boosting the immunity that has developed as a result of the illness that they had.

But the reason that we recommend that you go ahead and get the full course of the vaccine is twofold. First of all, we do not have the evidence yet about whether or not a single dose following disease would be fully protective or equally protective against the variants that are now out there. And we also do not know about the duration of protection. So, without evidence to really assure people that a single dose of a vaccine would normally be given in two doses is going to give you optimum of protection, we are recommending still that you go ahead and get both doses of vaccine.

Also Read: COVID-19 Explained: Here’s How You Can Register For The COVID-19 Vaccine On The CoWIN Portal

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 23,96,06,768 and 48,82,051 have died; 20,13,42,617 are active cases and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 4:15 am.


3,40,37,592 16,862Cases
3,33,82,100 19,391Recovered
4,51,814 379Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,37,592 confirmed cases including 4,51,814 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,03,678 and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

65,86,280 2,384

33,157 6

64,13,418 2,343

1,39,705 35


48,29,944 9,246

96,421 1,802

47,06,856 10,952

26,667 96


29,82,399 310

9,607 43

29,34,870 347

37,922 6

Tamil Nadu

26,83,396 1,259

15,451 199

26,32,092 1,438

35,853 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,122 540

6,588 27

20,38,248 557

14,286 10

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,008 12

135 4

16,86,976 16


West Bengal

15,79,012 530

7,576 81

15,52,491 601

18,945 10


14,39,311 28

337 1

14,13,885 29



10,33,809 521

4,890 38

10,20,645 477

8,274 6


10,05,614 16

203 4

9,91,841 20



9,54,382 8

42 6

9,45,386 2



8,26,244 34

215 20

8,15,943 14


Madhya Pradesh

7,92,669 12

111 1

7,82,035 11



7,71,035 16

105 158


10,049 174


7,26,016 8

42 6

7,16,313 2



6,68,618 168

4,171 40

6,60,512 207

3,935 1


6,05,847 207

3,646 157

5,96,263 362

5,938 2


6,01,971 33

234 11

5,85,199 16

16,538 6


3,48,406 11

130 4

3,43,141 7



3,43,729 28

175 22

3,36,157 6


Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,834 93

935 11

3,25,473 104


Himachal Pradesh

2,21,113 182

1,387 5

2,16,011 173

3,715 4


1,77,356 68

679 27

1,73,342 39

3,335 2


1,27,259 49

647 4

1,24,763 53



1,22,432 69

1,444 15

1,19,099 84



1,10,719 901

13,601 435

96,744 1,332

374 4


84,295 4

110 8

83,369 12



82,734 87

892 31

80,411 115

1,431 3


65,295 10

32 5

64,443 15


Arunachal Pradesh

54,958 4

202 22

54,476 26



31,722 6

224 1

31,108 7



31,516 9

230 8

30,613 17



20,867 6

44 2

20,615 4


Dadra And Nagar Haveli


3 1

10,668 1




2 0



Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,640 3

10 1

7,501 2


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