Over-60s won't need co-morbidity certificate for precautionary Covid jab, says Centre in U-turn
This will make the entire 60 plus population in India, who have completed 39 weeks since their second Covid vaccination, eligible for the precaution dose against coronavirus.
NEW DELHI: After first announcing that 60-plus people who wish to avail precautionary Covid-19 jabs from January 10 will need a certificate to prove the existence of a co-morbidity, the Centre has now dropped the clause.
In a letter to the states on Tuesday, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that anyone over 60, on their doctor's advice, can now take the shot and will not be required to show the co-morbidity certificate at the Covid-19 vaccination centre.
This, in practical terms, will make the entire 60 plus population in India, who have completed 39 weeks since their second Covid vaccination, eligible for the precaution dose against coronavirus that is being permitted also for healthcare and frontline workers.
"All persons aged 60 years and above with co-morbidities will not be required to produce or submit any certificate from a doctor, at the time of administration of precaution dose," wrote Bhushan to state chief secretaries adding that such people are expected to obtain the advice of their doctor before deciding to avail of the precautionary dose.
The development comes after a section of people, including several doctors, had protested the requirement of doctors' certificate to avail precautionary Covid-19 jabs, first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25.
"There is no provision of such a certificate in India's healthcare system to avail any service. Then, why create this unnecessary hurdle to get the Covid-19 booster jab administered?” said a senior medical professional attached with AIIMS, Delhi who is also a member of ICMR advisory group on Covid-19 clinical management.
Meanwhile, as Covid-19 vaccination for the 15-17 year age group opens from January 3, the Centre urged district officials to identify dedicated session sites or earmarked Covid-19 vaccination centers for their immunisation as only Covaxin is to be administered to them.
"lt must be ensured that no mixing of vaccines is done. Hence, preferably separate session sites (Covid-19 vaccination centres) should be identified. Separate queue with proper and prominent signage and separate vaccination team must be used, if the identified session site is the same where adult vaccination is also ongoing," said the letter.