Covid Booster dose vaccine in India starts from January 10; Who is eligible, how to book and the time gap explained

As the Covid-19 outbreak continues unabated in the country, Booster dose vaccination in India will start from today(January 10) onwards. The booster dose, which is said to be the precautionary vaccine will be given to health workers, veterans, and those over 60 years of age. The booster shots will be given even as the highly transmissible Omicron variant pushes the country’s Covid figures higher.

Eligible

Besides healthcare and frontline workers, the precautionary Covid-19 vaccine dose or the booster dose will be given to those over 60 years of age with co-morbidities from January 10. Here, the co-morbidities include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, stem cell transplant recipients, cirrhosis, cancer, sickle cell disease, and other conditions.

The precautionary dose is available only 9 months after the second dose of one persons’ vaccine. Eligible candidates do not need to re-register on the CoWIN platform for the third dose. 

Moreover, the third dose will be the same vaccine the people have received for their first and second doses. There will be no mix and match, the Centre has said. If a person has received the two doses of Serum Institute’s Covishield vaccine, then he/she will get a third dose of the same. Those who got Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin will get a third jab of it also.

How to register

Those who already have an account in CoWIN portal need not take another for the vaccination. All senior citizens aged 60 years or above with comorbidities will be able to get the precaution dose using their current Co-WIN account. To avail of the vaccine, the eligible population who have taken two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine can directly take an appointment or walk into any vaccination centre.

“Precautionary Covid-19 vaccine dose will be the same vaccine as has been given previously. Those who have received Covaxin will receive Covaxin, those who have received primary two doses of Covishield will receive Covishield,” NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr. V K Paul said.

Time gap

According to the guidelines issued by the ministry, the eligibility of such beneficiaries for the precaution dose will be based on the date of administration of the second dose as recorded in the CoWIN system. As per the report, the completion of 9 months i.e. 39 weeks from the date of administration of the second dose will be the norm for getting the third jab for the eligible person.

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When the precautionary dose is due, the Co-WIN system will send SMS to such recipients to remind them to take it. Registration and appointment services are available in both online and onsite formats. 

Meanwhile, a study from the UK has found that a third dose of vaccine can provide up to 88 percent protection against hospitalization from infection by the Omicron variant.