Thursday, August 18, 2022

Free Covid precaution doses from July 15

People in the 18-59 age group will get free precaution doses of the Covid vaccine at government vaccination centres under a 75-day special drive likely to begin from July 15, the government said on Wednesday.
The drive, aimed at boosting the uptake of Covid precaution doses, will be held as part of the government’s Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, they said.
In a tweet, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, “As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations, free COVID-19 precaution dose will be administered to all the citizens above 18 years of age at government vaccination centres, from July 15, 2022, till the next 75 days. I thank PM Narendra Modi Ji for this decision.”
“The decision will further strengthen India’s fight against COVID-19 and add an extra layer of safety! I urge all those eligible to get their precaution dose at the earliest,” he added.
So far, less than 1 per cent of the target population of 77.10 crore in the 18-59 age group have been administered the precaution dose. However, 25.84 per cent of the 16.80 crore eligible population aged 60 and above as well as healthcare and frontline workers have received the booster dose, an official source said.
“A majority of the Indian population got their second dose over nine months ago. Studies at ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) and other international research institutions have suggested that antibody levels wane around six months after the primary vaccination with both doses… giving a booster increases the immune response,” the official said. The Union Health Ministry last week reduced the gap between the second and precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccine for all beneficiaries from nine to six months.
This followed a recommendation from the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).
To accelerate the pace of vaccination and encourage booster shots, the government initiated the second round of the ‘Har Ghar Dastak campaign 2.0’ across states and Union Territories on June 1.
The two-month programme is currently underway.
According to government data, 96 per cent of India’s population has been administered the first dose of Covid vaccine while 87 per cent of the people have taken both doses.


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