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Indian Medical Association (IMA) has demanded booster doses of Covid-19 for healthcare workers and frontline workers amid the emergence of Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Several vaccine manufacturers have already started the process to ascertain if their jabs are effective against the Omicron variant and develop new shots, if needed.

“It's important that all healthcare workers and frontline workers should be given vaccine booster doses to enhance their immunity," IMA President Dr JA Jayalal told news agency ANI.

When India started its nation-wide Covid-19 vaccination drive from January 16, 2021, the first phase covered only healthcare workers. In the second phase, from February 2, 2021, the drive was extended to include frontline workers too.

As per the latest data provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 1,03,84,617 healthcare workers have taken the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while 95,48,009 have been fully vaccinated.

Out of frontline workers in the country, 1,83,81,233 have been partially vaccinated, whereas 1,65,92,175 have taken the second dose too, according to the Health Ministry.

Dr Jayalal said that the medical facilities are already facing a shortage of professionals due to the delay in NEET-PG Counselling this year. He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take cognisance of the matter and intervene.

“We are lacking in the area of manpower as NEET-PG counseling getting delayed, PM should interfere to stop this delay," the IMA President said.

Resident doctors at hospitals operated by central and state governments have threatened to intensify protests, affecting services at these facilities, if the delay in NEET-PG Counselling continues.

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