Amid rising COVID-19 cases linked to the new Omicron variant, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the rollout of the “precaution dose” for senior citizens, healthcare and other frontline workers from January 10, 2022. The precautionary dose refers to the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for fully vaccinated individuals.
The third or precautionary dose can be given only nine months after an eligible individual has received the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, R.S. Sharma, CEO of the National Health Authority, told ANI on December 27.
Also read: Omicron Updates: Night curfew imposed in Kerala; EC reviews COVID situation in poll-bound states
"The process will be exactly the same. When you are more than 60 years of age and you have already been given two doses and if you want to register for the third dose, the gap between the second dose and the day you are registering or the day you are getting the third dose should be more than nine months which is 39 weeks," said Dr Sharma.
With the emergence of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, even fully-vaccinated people are vulnerable. The booster will be given to the elderly with comorbidities, and those with very low antibody levels. The idea is to boost the level of protection.
The Prime Minister also said that vaccination for children aged between 15 and 18 would begin from January 3. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has been given emergency-use approval for children aged above 12.
More than 61 percent of India's adult population has received both doses of the vaccine.
Who are eligible?
At present, frontline workers and the healthcare workers will be eligible for this precautionary dose. It will also be available for citizens above 60 years of age and the ones with comorbidities on the advice of their doctors.
The gap between the second dose and the precautionary dose is likely to be nine to 12 months, sources said.
What’s the procedure?
Senior citizens will have to show a medical certificate for the same from their respective doctors that can be scanned and uploaded on the CoWIN portal or which can be produced at a vaccination centre. The certificate should specify that they have specified comorbidities to be eligible for this precautionary dose.
Sharma said the booking process will be the same as was followed when the COVID-19 vaccination drive was opened for people aged above 45 and for those who suffered from comorbidities.
Also read: Individual alertness, discipline 'big strength' in fight against Omicron variant of COVID-19: PM Modi
“When you will register, it will ask whether you have any comorbidities or not. If you say yes, you will be able to book and have to show the comorbidities certificate from a registered doctor at the vaccination centre and then you can get jabs,” Sharma said.
Heart failure, moderate or severe valvular heart disease, post-cardiac transplant, significant left valvular heart disease, congenital heart disease, angina and hypertension, kidney/liver stem cell transplant, end-stage kidney disease are some of the conditions which are considered as comorbidities.
Around the world
Some other countries like the US, Israel, Australia and UK have already been administering COVID-19 booster shots. The US started rolling out COVID-19 booster shots to everyone above the age of 16 in November. The UK also said everyone above 18 would be given a booster dose by December 31.
Israel has also recommended that medical workers and anyone else above 60 can receive a fourth shot of Pfizer. Australia will give booster shots from January 4 to everyone above 18 years who had their second shot four months earlier.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: IST