No mix and match for third dose of Covid vaccine: Centre

Updated on Jan 06, 2022 01:56 AM IST

The third shot of Covid-19 vaccines that will be rolled out for certain categories of citizens from January 10 will be of the same dose as the first two, a Union government official said on Wednesday.

A healthcare worker inoculates a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to a student during a vaccination drive for children aged 15 to 18 years, at a school, in Surat on Tuesday. (ANI)
A healthcare worker inoculates a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to a student during a vaccination drive for children aged 15 to 18 years, at a school, in Surat on Tuesday. (ANI)
By, New Delhi

The third shot of Covid-19 vaccines that will be rolled out for certain categories of citizens from January 10 will be of the same dose as the first two, a Union government official said on Wednesday.

People above the age of 60 with certain illnesses and those working in high-risk healthcare and front-line jobs will be allowed to take what the government has classified as precaution doses, as long as their second shots were taken more than nine months ago.

“It will be a homologous third or precautionary dose. Those who have received Covaxin will receive Covaxin and those who have earlier received primary two doses of Covishield will receive Covishield,” said VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, during the health ministry’s weekly media briefing on Covid-19.

Paul said that as and when the government gets more information and data on other vaccines, especially on mixing of doses, the policy could be reviewed.

“We will take a call later as more data will gradually emerge on the so-called heterologous approach. For now, however, it will be the same third vaccine dose,” added Paul.

Experts backed the decision to wait for scientific doses on mixing vaccines. “In the absence of any data, no decision can be said to be inappropriate,” said Gagandeep Kang, vaccine expert, and senior faculty, Christian Medical College, Vellore.

“That is actually the right approach; policies can be modified as data evolve,” she added.

Paul said arrangements have been made to ensure smooth implementation of the third dose administration plan.

“The process is on track and it will start as per plan on January 10,” added Paul.

The third doses are part of the government’s next phase on coronavirus vaccinations, which comes at a time when the country is in the grip of a third wave driven by the highly transmissible and resistant Omicron variant.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25 announced the opening of the phase, beginning with the first of the under-18 population – children between 15-17 began to get doses on Monday.

As per the Union health ministry guidelines issued earlier, all healthcare workers, frontline workers, and citizens aged 60 years or above with comorbidities will be able to access the vaccination for precaution dose through their existing Co-WIN account. Eligibility of such beneficiaries for the precaution dose will be based on the date of administration of second dose as recorded in the Co-WIN system.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rhythma Kaul works as an assistant editor at Hindustan Times. She covers health and related topics, including ministry of health and family welfare, government of India.

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