Updated: April 9, 2022 12:16:47 am
THE UNION Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced on Friday that the “precautionary” third dose of Covid-19 vaccines would be available for all those aged above 18 years who have completed nine months after their second dose, on payment at private vaccination centres, from April 10.
“All those who are more than 18 years of age and have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose, would be eligible for precaution dose. This facility would be available in all private vaccination centres,” the ministry said.
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) April 8, 2022
So far, only those above 60 years, healthcare workers and frontline workers were eligible for the third dose. The ministry said the “free vaccination programme through government vaccination centres for first and second dose as well as precaution dose to healthcare workers, frontline workers and 60+ population would continue”.
While the health ministry is expected to issue detailed guidelines on the rollout of the third dose for the 18-plus population, sources told The Indian Express that beneficiaries will receive the same vaccine as their first two doses. So, if a person has received two doses of Covishield, the third dose will also be Covishield.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan is scheduled to hold a meeting with state health secretaries on Saturday to discuss the rollout.
Following the announcement, Serum Institute of India (SII) said the third dose of its Covishield vaccine would be priced at Rs 600 per shot. “End-users will pay Rs 600 for the booster dose and the hospitals will get at discounted price,” it said in a statement.
Bharat Biotech, which manufactures Covaxin, is yet to announce its price.
The decision to open up the precautionary dose to the entire adult population comes at a time when India has lifted all travel restrictions for foreign countries. On the other hand, some European Union countries have made Covid-19 booster doses mandatory for international visitors.
“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 the administration of second dose, would be eligible for precaution dose,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted.
Till date, 45.15 lakh healthcare workers, 69.77 lakh frontline workers, and 1.25 crore people aged over 60 years have received the precautionary dose. About 96 per cent of the entire 15+ population have received at least one vaccine dose; about 83 per cent in this group have received both the doses; and 45 per cent of the 12-14 years age group have received the first dose.
While India continues to follow homologous vaccination for booster doses, the expert group on vaccination is deliberating the benefits of mixing vaccines for the booster dose.
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With a decline in Covid-19 cases, the active caseload is down to 11,492 and weekly positivity rate 0.23%.
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