Appointments for COVID-19 vaccine's precautionary dose open today
Online applications for a "precautionary" dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will begin in India from Saturday, the central government said. A precautionary dose refers to an additional or third dose, given months after the traditional two-dose course of a coronavirus shot. The development comes as India sees an exponential surge in its daily COVID-19 infections and the tally of Omicron variant cases.
Why does this story matter?
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, in December 2021, announced the government's decision to start administering the precautionary dose to select groups.
- The move comes amid growing concerns over India's COVID-19 situation.
- Daily new cases have jumped from 10,000 to over 1.41 lakh in under 10 days.
- India has also reported more than 3,000 cases of the Omicron strain.
Who is eligible for the precautionary dose?
Healthcare workers, frontline staffers, and those who are aged above 60 years and suffer from co-morbidities are eligible for the precautionary dose, according to the Union Health Ministry. No new registration on the Co-WIN platform would be required for the additional dose. Vaccination for the said groups will start from January 10. Eligible people can also walk in to any of the vaccination centers.
9-month gap between second and third dose
According to the government, the precautionary dose will be administered nine months after the administration of the second dose. Further, those deployed on election duty will also be eligible to receive the additional shot.
No mix-and-match for precautionary dose
The Centre has clarified that the same vaccine as used for the first two doses will be used for the third shot. "The same vaccine that has been administered for the previous two doses would be given as the precaution dose to the eligible beneficiaries," Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to states and UTs on Thursday.
India's vaccination drive
More than 1.5 billion (150 crore) coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered in India by Friday, the government said. Earlier this month, COVID-19 vaccination was started for those aged between 15 and 18 years. Over one crore teenagers have since received their first dose.
COVID-19 situation in India
India recorded 1,41,986 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. The daily positivity rate stands at 9.28% and the weekly positivity rate at 5.66%, according to the Health Ministry. The Omicron strain has been detected in 27 states and Maharashtra has seen the highest number related infections so far. Central and state governments have announced sweeping restrictions to curb the spread of infection.