Wondering how you will be able to apply for the ‘precautionary dose’ that Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on 25 December?
Read on as we have some answers for you.
What’s the deal with these ‘precautionary doses’?
On Christmas day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the big announcement that India would begin vaccinating children between the age of 15-18 from 3 January 2022.
He also announced that the country will begin administering COVID-19 ‘precautionary doses’ to healthcare workers and to those above the age of 60 suffering from co-morbidities from 10 January 2022.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that such doses would be optional for this group, and they can take them after doctor's recommendation.
Which vaccine will be given as the ‘precautionary dose’?
The answer to this isn't too clear yet and details will come in slowly.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has allowed the use of any of the approved vaccine for booster dose, thus allowing the mixing of COVID-19 vaccines. Only for teens (16-17 years old) who have taken the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine earlier are recommended to take a booster shot of the same vaccine.
How could one get the ‘precautionary dose’?
Details on this aren’t very clear yet. But, here’s what we know so far.
Dr RS Sharma, Chief Executive Officer of National Health Authority (NHA), who also heads the functioning of CoWIN platform has stated that the elderly population above 60 years of age with co-morbidities will have to provide a medical certificate to take the dose.
According to news agency ANI report, RS Sharma said: “The elderly population that comes above 60 years of age with co-morbidities is eligible for COVID-19 'precautionary doses', will have to take a medical certificate to take the dose. The other process of vaccination will remain the same as before. The CoWIN application has all the details. They have already got two doses, they can go with their Comorbidities certificate and then get the third dose."
Dr Sharma added that the medical certificate of comorbidity should be signed by any registered medical practitioner that can be uploaded and even beneficiaries can take that along as a hard copy to the vaccination centre.
Explaining further, he said, "There is already a detail about comorbidity certificate which was published initially when we were doing comorbidity for 45 to 60+ age group. The same formula will apply now also the same certificate will be required for the same comorbidities condition."
There are 20 medical co-morbidities criteria including diabetes, kidney disease or on dialysis, cardiovascular diseases, stemcell transplant, cancer, cirrhosis, sickle cell disease, current prolonged use of steroids or immunosuppressant drugs, Muscular Dystrophy/Acid attack with involvement of respiratory system/Persons with disabilities having high support needs/ Multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness and severe respiratory disease with hospitalisations in last two years.
A booster dose certificate will also be given to beneficiaries.
Why the need for booster doses?
With the emergence of the highly contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus, many fully vaccinated people are at risk of getting infected again.
A booster is given to people with weak immunity, especially the elderly, and those with low antibody levels. The idea is to increase the level of protection by increasing the antibodies by taking the exact same amount of another shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Which countries are providing booster doses?
The United States started administering COVID-19 booster shots to all above the age of 16 since November.
The United Kingdom has said everyone 18 and above would be offered a booster dose by 31 December.
Israel has recommended that medical workers and anyone else over the age of 60 could receive a fourth shot of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.
Australia has said that from 4 January 2022, booster shots would be offered to every person aged over 18 who had their second shot four months earlier.
With inputs from agencies