In yet another step to bolster India’s battle against Covid-19, the central government reduced the gap between the second dose and precautionary/booster shot of coronavirus vaccines to six months from the existing nine months for all adults. The decision by the Centre comes amid a slow uptake of booster dose, looming threat of expiry of vaccine stock and concerns regarding new strains of Covid-19.
“In view of the evolving scientific evidence and global practices, Standing Technical Sub Committee (STSC) of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has recommended to revise the duration between 2nd dose and precaution dose from the existing 9 months or 39 weeks to 6 months or 26 weeks. This has also been endorsed by NTAGI,” the health ministry said.
According to a letter by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to all states, the Centre “decided that the precaution dose for all beneficiaries from 18-59 years will be administered after the completion of 6 months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of 2nd dose at Private Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs).
“For beneficiaries aged above 60 years as well as the healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs), precaution dose would be administered after completion of six months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of 2nd dose at government vaccination centres, free of charge.”
India began offering booster doses to all adults from April 10.
Here are the key details about the eligibility for the precaution dose and the full procedure for getting the booster jab:
Who is eligible?
Those who are more than 18 years of age and have completed six months after the administration of second dose are eligible for this precaution dose.
No Mixing of Shots
It will be of the same vaccine brand as the first and second dose. Those who were administered Covaxin will get the Covaxin ‘precautionary dose’ and those who opted for Covishield will get the Covishield dose.
How can one register for a precautionary dose?
- Eligible beneficiaries can log in to https://selfregistration.cowin.gov.in/ or register themselves through the Aarogya Setu app. Beneficiaries should register or sign for verification by entering the mobile number and OTP.
- As per the government, the registration can be done through: self-registration through an existing account on CoWin of a family member or by creating a new account through a unique mobile number (this facility is available for all eligible citizens presently).
- Once the registration/sign in is complete, beneficiary’s identity proof under the new category on the CoWin homepage needs to be updated.
- The beneficiary can be registered using their Aadhaar card or ID card.
Apart from Aadhaar, other IDs approved by the MoHFW are: EPIC, Passport, Driving license, PAN Card, Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR, Pension Document with Photograph.
When the precautionary dose is due, the Co-WIN system will send SMS to such recipients to remind them to take it.
All vaccination will be recorded in real-time through the Co-WIN Vaccinator Module on the same day.
Why is it necessary to get a booster shot?
Booster shots offer enhanced protection against Covid-19. The first two doses are still effective in preventing the development of severe disease, but they may become less effective over time, especially in senior citizens and those with comorbid conditions.
New variants, on the other hand, may increase the risk of reinfection. As a result, these booster shots will be critical in maintaining immune protection by increasing antibodies that are beneficial in preventing serious complications.
(with inputs from PTI)