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NEW DELHI : The government is concerned about the low utilization of covid-19 booster doses, with only 7% of 18-60-year-olds and 40% of over-60s given the jab so far, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Overall, India has administered 42.2 million booster doses, prompting the government to start planning a sensitization programme to encourage people to get the jab.

Everyone above 18 is eligible for a booster —that’s around 950 million eligible individuals.

So far, 5.5 million booster doses have been given to healthcare workers, 9.7 million to frontline workers, 4.3 million to 18-60-year-olds and 22.6 million to those above 60 years.

Utilization of booster shots among 18-59 years is particularly low in Arunachal Pradesh (106), Chandigarh (5,824), Goa (5,183), Jammu & Kashmir (5,849), Manipur (12), Sikkim (376), Tripura (301) Meghalaya (28), Mizoram (240), Nagaland (386), Puducherry (87), Punjab (8,958), Himachal Pradesh (4,130), Uttarakhand (14,928) and Chhattisgarh (16,615).

“People should understand that the precaution dose is essential to build additional cover of protection particularly in those having comorbidities. In the context of recent increase in symptomatic cases of covid, this becomes very important," said National Technical Advisory Group chairman Dr N. K. Arora.

Dr Animesh Arya, head of respiratory medicine at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute said, “Many are sceptical and not going for booster doses as they feel that they have already got two effective vaccines against the virus. But, it is vital to get a booster dose as it offers herd immunity and may also protect against future variants."

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