Govt not cutting waiting period for booster shot to 6 months
New Delhi, Apr 30: There were reports that the Centre was likely to reduce the gap between the second dose and precautionary dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from the current nine months to six months. However, sources have informed the news agency that the government has no such plans.
The longer the gap is between the primary vaccination and the third dose against COVID-19 infection, the better the immunity is in the individual. He said, "We observed that, if the second dose administered to the beneficiary was very recent, it did not make any difference. In other words, you're already protected. But, if a third dose is administered, then it did not make much of a difference."
"However, we also observed people's immunity who waited for a long period of time, let's say six months or longer after the second dose. We found that adding a third dose did make a difference." The administration of Precaution Dose to the 18+ population through Private Vaccination Centres began on April 10, 2022. All those who are more than 18 years of age and have completed 9 months after the administration of the second dose, would be eligible for Precaution Dose.
It was earlier reported that a recommendation on lessening the gap was expected to be made by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). Studies at ICMR and other international research institutions have reportedly suggested that antibody level wanes after about six months from the primary vaccination with both doses and giving a booster increases the immune response.
So far, about 96 per cent of all 15+ population in the country have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose while about 83 per cent of the 15+ population has received both doses, the government data said.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 last year with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. Vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2 last year.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced on March 1 last year for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified comorbid conditions. India launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 years from April 1 last year.
The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing everyone above 18 years of age to be inoculated against the viral disease from May 1 last year. The next phase of vaccination commenced from January 3 for adolescents in the age group of 15-18 years.
India began administering precaution doses of vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with comorbidities from January 10.
The country began inoculating children aged 12-14 from March 16 and also removed the comorbidity clause, making all people aged above 60 eligible for the precaution dose of Covid vaccine.