Amid resurgence of Covid-19 cases across the country, the Government of India has not reduced the time gap for administering ‘precaution dose’ of Covid-19 vaccine from nine months to six months, official sources said on Saturday.
As per the National advisory group on Immunisation (NTAGI) meeting held on Friday, there are mixed views of experts over whether one should reduce the gap of a booster dose in India as per official data, less number of people have shown interest in getting a third dose as a precaution dose despite being allowed by the Government of India for those above the age of 18 years.
Here are the important developments in India’s Covid-19 vaccine drive:
According to Dr. Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of the Indian Medical Association’s (IMA) Covid-19 national task force, the longer the gap is between the primary vaccination and the third dose against Covid-19 infection, the better the immunity is in the individual.
He said, “We observed that, if the second dose administered to the beneficiary was very recent, it did not make any difference. In other words, you’re already protected. But, if a third dose is administered, then it did not make much of a difference.”
“However, we also observed people’s immunity who waited for a long period of time, let’s say six months or longer after the second dose. We found that adding a third dose did make a difference.”
The administration of Precaution Dose to the above 18 population through Private Vaccination Centres began on April 10, 2022. All those who are more than 18 years of age and have completed 9 months after the administration of the second dose, would be eligible for Precaution Dose.
So far, about 96% of all 15 population in the country have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose while about 83% of the 15 population has received both doses, the government data said.
Who is eligible for the free booster shot?
As of now, the free booster shoot has been made available by the government for frontline workers, healthcare workers and senior citizens aged above 60 years of age. The vaccination will be available at government vaccination centres.
Who can walk in for a booster dose?
The appointment services and registration can be accessed both online and offline so in case you can’t book slots on Cowin, one can get the booster shot by simply using the walk-in facilities.
How to register:
Those who are eligible for the third dose of vaccination can register themselves through the CoWIN portal and get the booster dose. The main purpose of receiving the third dose is to improve immunity.
As per the official CoWIN website, “citizens should carry their Final Certificate of vaccination (with details of both earlier doses).
Citizens should use the same mobile number and ID card used for earlier doses” “HCWs, FLWs and Citizens aged 60 year or more, shall continue to receive precaution dose vaccination at any CVC, including free of charge vaccination at Government Vaccination Centers.”
Covid-19 vaccines available for booster dose in India:
For booster shots, India will continue to follow the homologous vaccination, which means that people that have received Covishield previously will get Covishield as the third dose and those who got Covaxin earlier will get Covaxin as the precautionary dose.
Recently, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) recommended that the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik Light which contains the same ingredients as the first dose of Sputnik V can be taken as a precaution dose, said Sources.
The two doses of Sputnik V have separate compositions. Many beneficiaries in India who have taken two doses of Sputnik V are waiting for the booster dose.
“The NTAGI’s Standing Technical Sub Committee that held a meeting on Friday has recommended taking Sputnik light as a precaution dose which has the same component of Sputnik V first dose.” official sources have said.
The Union Health Ministry has also received several representations regarding the booster dose of SputnikV.
Sputnik Light has also received the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in the month of February this year.
The SputnikV is already included in the National vaccination programme of the government. According to the CoWIN platform, more than 12 lakh people have been already administered with SputnikV.
Meanwhile, the cumulative Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in India crossed 189 crore on Saturday, the Union Health Ministry said. Over 23 lakh vaccine doses were administered on Saturday till 7 pm.
The daily vaccination tally is expected to increase with the compilation of the final reports for the day by late at the night.
A total of 78,565 precaution doses of Covid-19 vaccine were administered to those aged 18-59 years on Saturday till 7 pm.
The total number of precaution doses given in this age group has reached 7,47,648, according to Health Ministry data.