New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has announced that all aged above 18 years can take precaution dose of COVID-19 vaccines at private vaccination centres from April 10 (Sunday). The Ministry said that all those above the age of 18 who have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose will be eligible for the precaution dose. The decision has been taken amid the concerns over new mutations of the coronavirus, including the XE variant.
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) April 8, 2022
Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya took to Twitter to announce the new decision and said,
Adding an extra layer of safety! Precaution Dose is to be available to 18+ age group from 10th April 2022, at Private Vaccination Centres. All 18+ who have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose would be eligible for Precaution Dose.
Adding an extra layer of safety!
Precaution Dose to be available to 18+ age group from 10th April, 2022, at Private Vaccination Centres.
All 18+ who have completed 9 months after administration of 2nd dose, would be eligible for Precaution Dose.
— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) April 8, 2022
While talking to NDTV, Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India said that Covishield booster dose will cost Rs. 600 plus tax and Covovax, once approved as booster, will be available at Rs. 900 plus tax.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the adults who wish to take the precaution doses will have to pay unless they are above 60, healthcare workers or frontline staff. This means that the ongoing free vaccination programme through government vaccination centres for first and second doses as well as the precaution dose would continue.
Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, Group Medical Director, Max Healthcare said that allowing all adults to take the booster dose is a very welcome move, though a bit late. He said,
We should have opened up booster shots for the entire population above 18 years of age a few months back. It is known all over the world that there is waning immunity as the immunity levels go down after some time, especially six months onwards after taking the vaccine. Studies have shown that the third dose acts as a booster and augments your antibody response. We have seen that the risk of reinfections increases if the immunity goes down. COVID-19 practices like wearing masks and social distancing should continue.
Dr Gopi Krishna Yedlapati, Consultant Interventional Pulmonologist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad said that this is a welcoming move and will be helpful in fighting the pandemic. He said,
Although Covid vaccination reduces the severity of the infection, different reports have suggested that vaccination becomes less effective over time. This is especially true for people who are on immunosuppressants or are above the age of 65 years. With the emergence of the highly contagious new variants of coronavirus, even the fully vaccinated people are at risk of getting infected again. Thus, getting a booster shot is a must for all adults, especially those who are struggling with immunity like those with comorbidities, or are on chemotherapies or are obese or are elderlies. It is important to note that obesity is rising in the country and people who are obese become more vulnerable to diseases.
He further said that because adults tend to go out more, for work, education among other reasons, a booster dose will give them the much-needed protection. This is because while vaccines may not give 100 per cent protection, these are helpful in avoiding severe disease and deaths, he said.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.