The precaution dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to be given to healthcare workers, frontline workers and those aged 60 years and above with comorbidities will be the same as that of the first two jabs, the government said on Wednesday, January 6.
All arrangements are on track to start inoculating the beneficiaries in these categories from January 10, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said, addressing the weekly briefing on COVID-19. "The precautionary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine that will be given to healthcare workers, frontline workers as well as those aged 60 years and above with comorbidities will be of the same vaccine as was given to them previously. Those who have received the primary two doses of Covishield will receive Covishield and those who had received Covaxin would be administered Covaxin," Paul said.
He further said a tab is being kept on the emerging information, science and data on mixing of vaccines and heterologous approaches. According to the "Guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination of children between 15-18 years and precaution dose to HCWs, FLWs and 60+ population with comorbidities" issued by the Union Health Ministry recently, prioritisation and sequencing of the precaution dose for the beneficiaries would be based on the completion of nine months from the date of administration of the second dose, which is 39 weeks.
They will be able to access vaccination for the precaution dose through their existing CoWIN account, the guidelines that came into effect from January 3 said.
The eligibility for the precaution dose will be based on the date of administration of the second dose as recorded in the CoWIN system, which will send a text message for availing the precaution dose when it becomes due, the guidelines stated.
Meanwhile, the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) gave its approval to Bharat Biotech on Tuesday for conducting the phase-3 superiority and booster dose trial for its intranasal COVID-19 vaccine to participants previously vaccinated with Covishield or Covaxin, sources said.
The SEC had, on December 10, said the Serum Institute of India (SII) should submit the local clinical trial data and a proposal, along with a justification, for the booster dose approval.
On November 30, in an application to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Prakash Kumar Singh, director of government and regulatory affairs at the SII, had sought an approval for Covishield to be used for booster doses, citing an adequate stock of the vaccine in the country and a demand for booster shots due to the emergence of new coronavirus variants.