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Health ministry reduces gap between second and booster doses of Covid-19 vaccine to 6 months

The beneficiaries were eligible for the third or precaution dose only nine months months after the second dose till now.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: July 7, 2022 1:24:48 am
An elderly man receives a third dose of vaccination for COVID-19 at a government hospital in Gauhati, India, Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. (AP)

The Union health ministry on Wednesday reduced the duration between the second dose and the precaution third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from nine months to six months.

On Wednesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the states that a decision has been taken to administer the precaution third dose to the adult population after completion of six months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of the second dose. At present, precaution dose is available free of cost at government vaccination centres to the priority groups -the frontline workers, healthcare workers, and the elderly population aged above 60 years. For those aged 18-59, the precaution dose is available only at private vaccination centres.

Bhushan told the states the revised guidelines for precaution were based on the recommendation made by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), India’s apex advisory body which provides guidance to the government on vaccination by undertaking technical reviews of scientific evidence on matters related to immunization policy and programmes.

“In the view of evolving scientific evidence and global practices, “Standing Technical Sub Committee” (STSC) of ‘National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation’ (NTAGI) has recommended to revise the duration between 2nd dose and precaution dose from existing 9 months or 39 weeks to 6 months or 26 weeks. This has also been endorsed by NTAGI,” Bhushan told the states.

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As per the official data, India has administered 4.75 crore precaution doses. In the priority groups, 57.75 lakh health care workers, 1.05 crore frontline workers and 2.50 crore elderly population above the age of 60 years have received their precaution dose.

On January 10, India rolled out precaution third dose health care workers, frontline workers, and citizens above 60 years with comorbidities. At that time, the health ministry issued guidelines that the precaution dose would be based on the completion of 9 months — that is, 39 weeks from the date of administration of the second dose.

On April 10, announced the rollout of the precaution third dose of Covid-19 vaccine for the 18 plus population. The data shows that 33.99 lakh beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group and 27.76 lakh beneficiaries in the 45-59 age group have received their precaution age group in the private vaccination centres.

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On May 12, Union Health Ministry relaxed vaccination norms for the third precautionary dose allowing citizens and students travelling abroad take the third booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine as per the travel guidelines of the destination country.

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First published on: 06-07-2022 at 07:10:06 pm
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