in

Covid-19: Booster dose gap cut to 3 months for those travelling overseas


Indian citizens can take a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine as soon as three months after second doses if they are set to fly abroad, the government announced on Thursday, reducing the gap for the so-called precaution doses to allow international travellers to meet conditions imposed by several countries.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the Co-WIN platform will be tweaked to allow people to book the third doses under the new rules shortly, while government officials aware of the matter said no proof of travel will be required for those seeking the third dose.

“Indian citizens and students travelling overseas can now take the precaution dose as required by the guidelines of the destination country. This new facility will be available soon on the Co-WIN portal,” tweeted Mandaviya.

Indian citizens can take a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine as soon as three months after second doses if they are set to fly abroad, the government announced on Thursday, reducing the gap for the so-called precaution doses to allow international travellers to meet conditions imposed by several countries.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the Co-WIN platform will be tweaked to allow people to book the third doses under the new rules shortly, while government officials aware of the matter said no proof of travel will be required for those seeking the third dose.

“Indian citizens and students travelling overseas can now take the precaution dose as required by the guidelines of the destination country. This new facility will be available soon on the Co-WIN portal,” tweeted Mandaviya.

 

The decision comes at a time when the uptake for the booster dose — all adults are eligible for it nine months after their second dose — has been slow, and there are fears that doses may be wasted.

“No list of countries is shortlisted (by the government); it will be available for all the countries, even if not required by a particular country,” said a senior official in the central government aware of the matter, on condition of anonymity, adding that the mandatory gap will now be of only three months.

“No proofs [of travel] are required to book a slot on Co-WIN or at the Covid vaccination centres,” added the official.

Several countries require people to have taken booster doses before they can arrive from abroad. Most of the European Union region sets the cut-off at nine months: that is, people must have taken a Covid-19 vaccine in the last 270 days to be allowed to arrive. In Israel, people will need to be boosted if their last shot was more than 180 days ago.

You May Also Like  Andhra Pradesh: Driver found dead in MLC Ananta Uday Bhaskar’s car, tension in Kakinada

Several groups made a representation to the government to allow people to meet these requirements.

The idea was one of several discussed by the government’s expert panel that looks at several issues related to booster doses, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).

Since April 10, when all those 18 and above became eligible to take a “precaution dose” if their primary vaccination course was completed more than nine months earlier, the pace of vaccination has been slow.

At least 117.9 million adults are eligible at present for the third doses, but only 30.4 million have taken it, according to data available on the Co-WIN dashboard. A section of experts said reducing the gap would speed up the booster drive.

People aware of the matter said the slow uptake was also leading to wasted doses. Each vial contains multiple doses — Covishield contains 10, Covaxin 20 — and these need to be used up in six hours once they are opened. In other words, if a centre administering Covaxin has only 12 people turning up on a day, eight doses go to waste.

Several studies have established that antibody levels decline over time in the vaccinated persons, with most finding a significant drop in protection from symptomatic infection from six months onwards, although protection from severe disease or death is typically more durable.

Experts said precaution doses are also crucial in strengthening the immune system’s ability to combat variants of the coronavirus.

“With Omicron we have seen how it managed to evade the immune response, which is why administering a booster dose becomes especially important for those at high-risk such as elderly people, and those with compromised immunity,” said Dr Gagandeep Kang, senior vaccine expert, and faculty, Christian Medical College, Vellore (Tamil Nadu).

The current rule on type of doses will continue. People will be eligible for the same dose of a vaccine as the first two for their booster. Mix and match policy decision is likely to be based on clinical trials data. CMC Vellore is currently working on a trial with Covaxin and Covishield vaccines, and the results are expected to be submitted to the central drugs standard control organisation soon.


The article was originally published here

What do you think?

25 Points
Upvote

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Urfi Javed sets the internet on fire as she posts a video in a bikini top made from seashell – CineTalkers

How Small and Local Marketers can Take Advantage of the Metaverse – Retail TouchPoints