Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcements for a “precaution dose” for healthcare and frontline workers as well as co-morbid seniors and vaccination for adolescents between 15-18 years of age will strengthen the confidence of people and stop any panic, government sources say.
A source said India had also charted a separate way with the prime minister announcing a “precaution dose” for frontline workers, healthcare workers and senior citizens with co-morbidities. The PM did not call it a “booster dose” as the third dose is termed world-wide.
“The idea is that the dose is being offered as a matter of abundant precaution as one view is that Indians already have hybrid immunity,” a government source explained.
All these people being offered the ‘precaution dose’ now had got their second dose of vaccine nearly 6-8 months ago and there was a concern that their immunity levels may have waned now given the interval. The source said that given the history of India’s vaccine journey, it is possible that this ‘precaution’ dose could be offered to other age-groups too in due course as vaccine supplies improve further.
“This (precaution dose) will strengthen confidence of healthcare and frontline workers. The PM has also cautioned the public on Omicron, telling them that there is no need for panic but all precautions must be followed by them,” the source said.
“Youngsters of 15-18 age group to get vaccine and this will aid education,” a government source said after Bharat Biotech also got Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) for giving Covaxin to children between 12 and 18 years of age. With schools and colleges opening, there was a demand to begin vaccination for children.
The PM also used the occasion to give an overview of healthcare infrastructure in the nation to the people, explaining the nature of infrastructure on terms of hospital beds and oxygen plants, in a move aimed at easing the concerns of some in case Omicron spreads in India like it has globally.