“All those who are over 18 years of age and have completed 9 months after the administration of the second dose, will be eligible for precaution dose," the Health Ministry said.

A young woman getting the COVID-19 vaccineImage for representation/PTI
news COVID-19 vaccine Friday, April 08, 2022 - 23:20

The Union Ministry of Health on Friday, April 8 announced that precaution doses (booster doses) will be made available to those above 18 years of age at private vaccination centres. The administration of precaution dose will start from April 10.

“All those who are over 18 years of age and have completed 9 months after the administration of the second dose, will be eligible for precaution dose. This facility would be available in all Private Vaccination Centres,” the government said in a release. Third dose will be the same as the one administered as the second dose, which means those who got Covaxin will be given Covaxin, and those who were jabbed with Covishield will get a Covishield third dose.

So far, about 96% of those above 15 years of age have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while about 83% of those above 15 have received both the doses, the Union Health Ministry added. More than 2.4 crore precaution doses have also been administered to healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above 60, it said. 45% of the population in the 12 to 14 years age group have also received the first dose.

The government has added that the ongoing vaccination programme through government vaccination centres for first and second dose to the eligible population as well as precaution dose to healthcare workers, frontline workers and 60+ population would continue and would be accelerated.

After the announcement, vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) said the precaution dose of its Covishield vaccine will be priced at Rs 600 per shot for eligible individuals.

As of now, mixing of COVID-19 vaccines is not allowed in the country which means the precaution dose will be the same vaccine as the first and the second dose. However, final guidelines on vaccinating all above 18 years are yet to be issued.

"Adding an extra layer of safety! precaution dose to be available to 18+ age group from 10th April, 2022, at private vaccination centres. All 18+ who have completed nine months after administration of second dose would be eligible for precaution dose," Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Twitter.

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla also welcomed the government's move to allow precaution dose of the vaccine to all aged above 18 years at private vaccination centres, saying it will further provide long-term protection against the virus, and aid ease of travel.

"End-users will pay Rs 600 for the booster dose and the hospitals will get at discounted price," Poonawalla said in a statement.

Meanwhile, India recorded 1,033 fresh COVID-19 cases in a span of 24 hours, a marginal decline against the previous day's count of 1,086, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Thursday, April 7. In the same period, 43 COVID-19-related fatalities have occurred across the country, taking the death toll to 5,21,530.

Following a continuous downward trend, the country's active caseload has declined to 11,639. Active cases now constitute 0.03% of the country's total positive cases. A total of 1,222 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours and the cumulative tally of recovered patients since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 4,24,98,789. Consequently, the country's recovery rate stands at 98.76%.

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