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No mixing and matching of vaccines will be allowed while administering the third or precautionary anti-Covid dose, said the central government on Wednesday. 

“Precautionary Covid-19 vaccine dose will be the same as has been given previously. Those who have received Covaxin will receive Covaxin, those who have received primary two doses of Covishield will receive Covishield," said VK Paul, member (health) of Niti Aayog. 

Further, health officials also said that the upsurge of Covid-19 cases is happening in cities and the Omicron variant is the predominant circulating strain.

The government, however, said there is no need to panic and one must be alert, disciplined and prepared, adding that the country will face this phase of the pandemic as well.

“Upsurge of infections is happening in cities. Omicron is the predominant circulating strain and mass gatherings need to be avoided to reduce the speed of the spread of infection.

“There has been a surge in Covid cases globally whereas 25.2 lakh cases were recorded globally on 4 January, the highest ever since the onset of the pandemic," officials said.

“India reported over 6.3 times rise in Covid cases in the last eight days. There has been a sharp rise in case positivity from 0.79% on 29 December to 5.03 per% on 5 January," they said.

Precautionary dose announcement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently announced that the precautionary dose will be rolled out for the citizens from 10 January for healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above the age of 60 with comorbidities.

This comes amid several studies pointing at the benefits a booster dose can offer in preventive severe infections. 

According to recent findings published in UK Health Security Agency (UKSHA), one can get 88% protection against hospitalisation from infection by the Omicron Covid-19 variant if vaccinated with a booster dose.

The vaccine effectiveness drops to 52% against Omicron around six months after taking the second shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, pointed out Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine, and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in the US.

However, a booster dose substantially increases immunity and lowers the odds of being hospitalised with Covid-19 infection.

The central government officials had also earlier said that the durability of immunity post-Covid-19 vaccination persists for nine months or more and a precautionary dose of vaccine which will be administered to healthcare and frontline workers and citizens above 60 years with comorbidities is to mitigate the severity of infection, hospitalisation and death.

 

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