Antibody level test to determine need for third booster dose: MoH

Dr Sonam Wangchuk says that the samples collected would also be used to study how long
the side effects from the vaccination last


The Ministry of Health (MoH) is collecting blood samples to test the antibody level
among the vaccinated population in the country.
 
The blood samples meant to study the antibody level are collected for 14 days, 28
days, three months, six months and one year, according to Dr Sonam Wangchuk
from the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group.
 
He said the antibody level study after one year would find out whether there is a
requirement of a third booster dose against the Covid-19.
 
Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said the samples are also collected from
children and they want to analyse together as a children vaccination program is
ongoing in the four districts.
 
Clinical microbiologist and a member of the MoH’s technical advisory group, Dr
Sonam Wangchuk said the sample collected after the first dose and second dose
would compare the antibody level and how long the antibody level would be
maintained in the body in a year.
 
Whether the antibody level in the body is at the same level or whether it is increasing
or decreasing, the decline in the antibody level would give an idea on the need of the
booster dose, he said,
 
Dr Sonam Wangchuk added that the samples collected would also be used to study
how long the side effects from the vaccination last.
 
Additionally, he said the ministry’s target is to collect 3,000 samples. However, the
ministry is collecting around 4,000 samples since some would be dropped.
 
Dr Sonam Wangchuk said the samples are collected from Thimphu, Paro, Gelephu,
Samtse, Phuentsholing and Sarpang.
 
However, he said the ministry has no COVID-19 antibody test kit and they are
looking forward to receiving the COVID-19 antibody quantitative test kit for which talk
has begun with the Moderna company for the test kit.
 
Additionally, he said earlier through support from the World Health Organization, 200
samples were tested for antibody levels and it was found that about 75% people
have antibody after 14 days of the vaccination and about 97% have antibody after 28
days of the vaccination.
 
However, Dr Sonam Wangchuk said the study was not a proper-designed study and
samples were collected from volunteer staff of the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National
Referral Hospital in Thimphu.

Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu