Covid booster dose for adults from April 10

The government on Friday said India’s entire adult population, or those who have turned 18, are eligible for vaccination with a booster dose to fight Covid-19.
These precautionary doses will be available at private vaccination centres from April 10 and can be taken nine months after the second dose. No mixing of vaccines would be allowed, so the precautionary third dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first two.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India (SII), said Covishield vaccine would cost Rs 600 inclusive of 5% GST and the vaccine administering charges, while Covovax, once approved as a booster vaccine, would be priced at Rs 900, including taxes. Poonawalla has indicated that the company has adequate stocks to meet the third dose supply requirements. He said SII would offer discounts to hospitals and distributors that wanted the precautionary doses and the new orders would come with a free replacement policy.

Bharat Biotech had recently announced slowing down of their Covid-19 vaccine production. More than 24 million precautionary doses have been administered to frontline healthcare workers and those above 60 years of age.

The government said the on-going free vaccination programme to administer the first and second doses as well as the booster dose to healthcare and frontline workers and the 60 plus age group would continue.

The country has administered 1.85 billion Covid-19 vaccines to date with 76% of the population having vaccinated once, 64.4% having had their second dose and 1.7% their third. SII’s Covishield accounted for 81.8% (1.51 billion doses) of vaccines administered, while Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin’s share was 16.7% (309 million doses). The remaining vaccines were split between Sputnik and Corbevax.

According to the health ministry data, around 96% of all those in the 15-18 age group in the country have received at least one Covid-19 shot, while about 83% of the group have received both the doses. Around 45% of those in the 12-14 age group have received the first dose.