New Delhi: In a notice issued Tuesday, the Union health ministry has stated that people above the age of 60 with comorbidities will not be required to produce or submit a certificate from a doctor at the time they are administered the “precaution dose”.
In a letter written to the states, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said people are expected to obtain the advice of their doctors before deciding to take the “precaution dose”, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had referred to it while announcing the decision on 25 December.
Healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above the age of 60 with comorbidities will be eligible to get a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from 10 January 2022.
According to Bhushan’s letter, those who had received their second Covid vaccine dose 39 weeks, or 9 months, back will be eligible for the third dose.
All healthcare workers, frontline workers and citizens aged 60 years or above with comorbidities will be able to access the vaccination for the precaution dose through their existing CoWlN account, the letter said.
Along with this, personnel to be deployed on election duty in poll-bound states will also be included in the category of frontline workers.
Eligibility of such beneficiaries for the precaution dose will be based, too, on the date of administration of the second dose as recorded in the CoWlN system — that is, completion of nine months from the date of administration of the second dose.
Healthcare staff and frontline workers who are for any reason currently registered on the CoWIN system as citizens (and not as healthcare/frontline workers) and are aged less than 60 years will have to get their status appropriately assigned to get the precaution dose.
The health ministry estimates that there are over 2,75,14,000 people over the age of 60 with comorbidities.
Dedicated centres for children
Meanwhile, for the vaccination of children between 15 and 18 years of age — which will begin from 3 January — Health Secretary Bhushan has recommended that district officials should identify dedicated session sites (that is, earmarked Covid-19 vaccination centres).
“It must be ensured that no mixing of vaccines is done, hence, preferably separate session sites (Covid-19 Vaccination Centres) should be identified. Separate queues with proper and prominent signages and separate vaccination teams must be used, if the identified session site is the same where adult vaccination is also ongoing,” the letter states.
Currently, only Covaxin will be available for children, since that is the only vaccine approved for use under 18 years of age.
In the letter, Bhushan added that an estimated 7,40,57,000 individuals across India will be eligible for the paediatric Covid vaccine.
(Edited by Saikat Niyogi)