The government has rolled out Covid-19 booster shots for the elderly with plans to expand the range of eligible receivers. Studies have shown the additional dose helps increase immunity levels manifold against the deadly virus. With the fear of new coronavirus variant Omicron growing amid rising cases, authorities are stressing the importance of the extra dose.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), those who have received their second dose of the vaccine at least six months ago will not have to re-register for the booster dose. They will receive their dates for their third dose through SMSes from the vaccination centres where they received their first two doses. They only need a printed "vaccine card" for the dose, which can be downloaded from the Surokkha app.
The government has rolled out the booster dose in 40 districts since 28 December. Eventually, the additional dose will be available in all corners of the country.
"Currently, only people over the age of 60 is being given the dose, with plans to vaccinate frontline workers from next week," Dr Shamsul Haque, member secretary of the National Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Programme told The Business Standard.
"Registration in Surokkha app is only required for the first dose. There is no need to re-register to get the booster jab. If one gets a message from the vaccine centre, they only have to take the vaccine card to get the booster dose," he added.
At present, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are being offered in the country as booster doses of coronavirus. Eligible recipients will be given one of these three vaccines as the third dose, irrespective of the vaccines they received in the first two doses.
Vaccine takers have no option to choose a specific vaccine as the third dose. They must take the vaccine available at their respective centres.
Earlier on 19 December, 54 people were vaccinated with booster doses. Till Wednesday, a total of 15,415 people have received the extra shot.