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NEW DELHI : The Union health ministry has reduced the covid-19 vaccine booster dose gap from the existing nine months to six months.

“In view of the evolving scientific evidence and global practices, the Standing Technical Sub Committee of National Technical Advisory Group of Immunisation (NTAGI) has recommended to revise the duration between the second dose and precaution dose from existing nine months or 39 weeks to six months or 26 weeks. This has been endorsed by NTAGI," Rajesh Bhushan, Union health secretary said in a letter to all states and Union territories.

“Therefore, it has now been decided that the precaution dose for all beneficiaries from 18 to 59 years of age will be administered after completion of six months, or 26 weeks, from the date of administration of the second dose at private vaccination centres (PVCs). For beneficiaries aged above 60 years, as well as healthcare workers and frontline workers, the precaution dose would be administered after the completion of six months, or 26 weeks, from the date of administration of second dose at government covid vaccination centres, free of charge," Bhushan said in a letter reviewed by Mint.

The ministry has also made changes to the CoWIN system to facilitate this. The Centre has instructed state health authorities to publicise the new provision of the precaution dose so that the benefit can be extended to all beneficiaries at the vaccination centres and the household level during the ongoing Har Ghar Dastak 2.0 campaign.

India’s covid-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 1.98 billion as of date. Of this, 4.75 million booster doses have been given to the eligible population above 18 years of age.

Health experts say that the precaution dose of a vaccine boosts immunity in the body further by activating the memory cells to produce more antibodies against covid.

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