India begins new vaccine phase in COVID-19 fight, ‘precautionary doses’ for frontline workers and seniors from today: All you need to know
An estimated 1.05 crore healthcare and 1.9 crore frontline workers, and 2.75 crore co-morbid people in the 60-plus age group would be administered the third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
The country will begin a new phase in its fight against coronavirus, as it will start administering a third COVID-19 precautionary dose to healthcare and frontline workers, and those over 60 years of age with co-morbidities.
This new phase for India comes at a time when the country is witnessing a wave of infections, fuelled by the Omicron variant —on Sunday, the country’s tally went up by 1,79,339.
Who’s eligible for the third dose?
Only healthcare workers, frontline workers, and people over the age of 60 with co-morbidities are eligible to register for the ‘precaution’ dose. Only if you have certain co-morbidities will you be eligible for the ‘precaution’ shot.
Personnel deployed for election duty in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will also be given the third COVID-19 vaccine dose, as they have been considered as frontline workers.
According to sources in the health ministry, an estimated 1.05 crore healthcare and 1.9 crore frontline workers, and 2.75 crore co-morbid people in the 60 plus age group would be administered the precaution dose according to schedule.
What vaccine will they be given?
The health ministry had announced last week that there would be no mix-and-match of COVID-19 vaccines.
Dr VK Paul, the head of India's COVID-19 task force, had said, "It will be a homologous third or precautionary dose. Those who have received Covaxin will receive Covaxin and those who have earlier received primary two doses of Covishield will receive Covishield.”
When will the eligible people receive their third dose?
The gap between the date of administering the second dose of vaccine and the precaution dose would be nine months (39 weeks).
CoWIN, the platform used by India for its vaccination drive, will send reminder messages to all those eligible for this dose and after administration of the shot, it will be noted in the digital vaccination certificate.
How can one register for a precautionary dose?
• All senior citizens aged 60 years or above with co-morbidities will be able to get the precaution dose using their current CoWIN account.
• Beneficiaries can register in advance, on-site, or through CoWIN.
• Eligibility will be based on the date of administration of second dose as recorded in the CoWIN system.
• Verification will be done preferably using Aadhaar. Other documents such as driving licence or passport can also be used.
• Registration and appointment services are available in both online and onsite formats.
What are the co-morbidities?
A News18 report states that co-morbidities include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stem cell transplant recipients, cirrhosis, cancer, sickle cell disease, and other conditions.
Why third dose is important?
Calls for the third dose has come at a time when the virus is spreading at a rapid pace after the emergence of the Omicron variant, which is widely believed to be both more infectious and more resilient to existing vaccines.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the announcement for the ‘precautionary’ dose on 25 December 2021, when he said, “Corona warriors, healthcare, and frontline workers have a huge contribution in keeping the country safe… Therefore, from the point of view of precaution, the government has decided that to start administering "precaution doses’ for healthcare and frontline workers.”
With inputs from from agencies
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