NEW DELHI: CoWIN portal, the online platform driving India's vaccination programme against COVID-19, on Saturday opened for booking slots for booster jabs. The campaign will expand on Monday to allow healthcare, frontline workers and those above 60 years to opt for a third shot against coronavirus.
However, the government said that on-site vaccinations will also be allowed even though no new registration will be required for any beneficiary eligible for the shots.
Health Ministry officials said that on CoWIN, only those having completed nine months since the second dose of the vaccine will be able to book slots. Likewise, only those with the mandated gap since the full COVIDd vaccination will be permitted for on-site administration of the precaution dose.
It has now been decided that homologous vaccines will be administered as the precaution dose, which means those who have taken Covishield earlier will be given the same and those having received two doses of Covaxin will also get only Covaxin as booster dose. The government estimates nearly six crore people will qualify for the precaution doses being administered in view of the threat posed by the Omicron variant of the SARS CoV virus.
Earlier, in a letter to the states, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that private hospitals that function as vaccination centers will have the option of offering the third vaccine dose for free to their own staffers or at the stipulated cost.
He also wrote that the administration of precaution dose to healthcare and frontline workers of armed forces, special forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs and the cabinet secretariat may also be facilitated as was done during their first two doses.