Government hopes to boost uptake of third Covid-19 dose, makes it free for 75 days
- After reducing the gap for Covid-19
booster dosefrom existing 9 months to 6 months for adults, the government has made it free of cost for a limited period of time.
- Third dose or precaution dose will be available for free from July 15 till next 75 days.
- This comes as India celebrates 75th anniversary of independence.
AdvertisementTo encourage more people to take Covid-19 third doses, the government has made the booster dose free of cost for adults in the 18-50 age group.
The free drive decision comes right after India saw a 24% jump in daily Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. Over 16,900 new cases have been reported on July 13. Also, over 45 Covid fatalities have been recorded on the same day, taking the total death tally to 5,25,519.
The number of active cases also surpassed the one lakh mark.
The 75-day special free vaccination drive is part of India’s 75th anniversary of independence, says Union Minister Anurag Thakur.
"India is celebrating 75 years of independence. On the occasion of Azadi ka Amrit Kaal, it has been decided that from 15th July 2022 till the next 75 days, citizens above 18 years of age will be given booster doses free of cost," said Thakur.
This free drive comes just a few days after the union health ministry reduced the gap for the third vaccination dose to six months from nine months.
According to an ET report, so far only less than 1% of the population in the 18-59 age group have been administered with the precaution dose. However, the uptake has been good in the age group of 60 and beyond; as well as among healthcare professionals.
As many as 1.98 billion doses have been given out as both first and second vaccinations which were mandatory. Few are lining up for boosters that have been provided since January this year.
As per an article by Times of India, a large number of people are hesitant to take the booster dose due to several reasons. On top of the list is fear of short and long term side-effects of vaccines and confidence in the effectiveness of two doses and doubts regarding the effectiveness.
Earlier this month, Tamil Nadu organized a camp to improve the uptake of second and even first doses of vaccines. Odisha too has been battling the pending doses to be given to its population. Even in Maharashtra where Covid cases have been rising quickly, the precautionary dose however is not finding takers especially in the 18-59 age group.
AdvertisementThe move comes as the World Health Organization cautioned that the pandemic is not over yet as the cases have risen in 110 countries.
According to the WHO, Covid-related deaths increased in three regions: the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Americas. "We have made progress but it's not over," said WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
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