COVID-19: Centre estimates 6 crore to be eligible for booster shot by March

As the Omicron is pushing the daily infections through the roof, many health care workers feel it may already be late for administering booster jabs.

Published: 08th January 2022 11:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th January 2022 11:16 AM   |  A+A-

COVID-19 booster

For representational purposes (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  As the administration of Covid booster dose begins in India from January 10 for the most vulnerable population groups, the government has estimated that nearly 6 crore people will qualify for the vaccines as per the existing criteria by March.

Healthcare and frontline workers and those above 60 years with underlying illnesses — but not needing doctors’ certificates — have been declared to be qualifying for the third dose, that is being called “precaution dose” in India. It will be the homologous vaccine —the same that a person has received in previous two doses.

The Union health ministry has also mandated that only those who have completed 9 months since the administration of the second dose will be eligible for the precaution doses.

N K Arora, chairman of Covid working group under the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization told TNIE that the Centre has estimated that 5-6 crore people under the specified groups will qualify for the booster dose by March.

“Nearly 5-6 crore people had completed their full vaccination by June 2020 and they will be the people who can get precaution dose till March,” said Arora.

He added that deliberations are on over  widening the ambit of population eligible for booster doses but are in preliminary stage and will largely depend on how the ongoing wave behaves. 

Arora also said it needed to be seen whether administering the precaution doses can contain the spread of Omicron—which is causing a significant proportion of breakthrough infections suggesting that existing vaccines are unable to largely protect against it. 

As the Omicron is pushing the daily infections through the roof, many health care workers feel it may already be late for administering booster jabs.

“The virus is already sweeping through the country but the administration of (booster) jabs has not even started yet,” said a senior doctor in Delhi’s Lok Nayak Hospital.

“Ideally, when the Omicron started hitting some countries in early December, the government should have taken a quick decision.”


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