A healthcare worker receives a dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at Messe Wien Congress Center, which has been set up as a coronavirus disease vaccination centre, in Vienna, Austria February 7, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Elderly urged to get Covid vaccine boosters

People aged above 65 must get booster shots if one year has passed since last vaccination

Tufail Ahmed January 17, 2024

Aga Khan University Hospital infectious diseases specialist Dr Faisal Mahmood has said that people aged 65 and more should get vaccinated against the new variant of coronavirus the JN.1. Conversely, individuals with weak immune systems or those suffering from diseases must also receive vaccinations.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Dr Mahmood said that people aged 65 and above must get the Covid shots if one year has passed since the last vaccination. He said that JN.1 was a new mutation of the coronavirus and might be immune to previous vaccination.

Responding to a question he said that the body retains antibodies against the virus for six to eight months following vaccination. Consequently, it was being advised to revaccinate the elderly people in light of the preventative measures.

Sindh Interim Health Minister Dr Saad Niaz told The Express Tribune that regarding the new coronavirus variant, the Sindh government has formed a task force headed by Dr Faisal Mehmood on whose recommendations elderly people have been advised to get vaccinated against JN.1.

"The new variant's symptoms are similar to coronavirus," he stated, adding that the victims of the new variant were also experiencing stomach issues. "Although the new variant was not as contagious as the Covid-19, we need to take precautionary measures."

Read alsoNew Covid vaccines are on the way as 'Eris' variant rises

The health minister said that people should wear masks when treating terminally ill people. He also advised people not to allow children or old people come near the coronavirus patients.

Regarding the vaccine, he said that a written application has been submitted to the federal government for the vaccine, and the vaccine will reach Sindh in the next few days, he added.

Meanwhile, two more passengers landing in Karachi have been verified to have the new variant of coronavirus, bringing the total number of JN.1 infected passengers to 17.

As per reports, a 28-year-old resident of Faisalabad and a 25-year-old resident of Gulbahar Malakand arrived at Karachi's Jinnah International Terminal from Jeddah.

The new variant has been confirmed in these two passengers after the Covid tests conducted at the airport. A health department spokesman said out of the seven confirmed cases of the JN.1 variant thus far, two are from abroad, and five are local. A spokesman said that the health department is on alert regarding the JN.1 variant.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2024.


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