The Central government on Wednesday decided to reduce the gap between the second dose and precautionary/booster shot of Covid-19 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.
The health ministry said, “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.”
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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.”
Corresponding changes have been made in the Cowin system to facilitate the new dispensation, it added.
Instructions in this regard may be issued to all the officials concerned and it may also be publicised widely, the Union health secretary said.
“I look forward to your support and leadership for extending the benefits of the precaution dose to all due beneficiaries at Covid vaccination centres as well as household level during the ongoing Har Ghar Dastak 2.0 campaign,” he stated in the letter addressed to chief secretaries and administrators of all states and union territories.
India began offering booster doses to all adults from April 10.