The government has decided to allow booster dose or precaution dose to all adults. So if you are planning to get it, you will have to pay for it. Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) has said that the precaution dose of its Covishield vaccine against COVID-19 will be priced at Rs 600 per shot for eligible individuals.
SII CEO Adar Poonawalla also welcomed the government’s move to allow precaution dose of the vaccine to all aged above 18 years at private vaccination centres, saying it will further provide long-term protection against the virus, and aid ease of travel.
“End-users will pay Rs 600 for the booster dose and the hospitals will get at discounted price,” Poonawalla said in a statement.
The Union Health Ministry on Friday announced that those above the age of 18 years who have completed nine months after the administration of the second dose will be eligible for the precaution dose.
Reacting to the government’s decision in a tweet, Poonawalla said, “We are delighted by GOI’s announcement on booster. The decision will further provide long term protection and aid ease of travel.” He, however, said the nine-month gap was a bit long although the company had 200 million dosages in stock. SII has the capacity to produce 4 billion dosages.
Poonawalla also exuded confidence that the whole country can be vaccinated in about three months in case of requirement in future.
SII and Bharat Biotech have been major suppliers of COVID-19 vaccines to the government so far.
Earlier in the day, he had stated that the booster dose should be made available to the public, saying it would help in protecting against the virus in future besides helping Indians overcome restrictions while travelling abroad.
In a tweet responding to a user, who highlighted difficulties faced by Indians travelling abroad who got their second dose in April 2021, Poonawalla had said,”I agree with you & sympathise for the inconvenience, boosters now should be made available to the public as a CHOICE.” He further said GoI “has done a fantastic job, protecting our nation with two doses, but in the context of future protection and travel restrictions, boosters will be useful”.
According to the health ministry, so far, about 96 per cent of all those above the age of 15 years in India have received at least one vaccine dose, while about 83 per cent have received both doses.
More than 2.4 crore precaution doses have also been administered to healthcare workers, frontline workers and those aged above 60 years. Besides, 45 per cent of beneficiaries in the 12-14 years age group have received the first dose, the ministry said.
The ongoing free COVID-19 inoculation programme through government vaccination centres for the first and the second dose to the eligible population as well as the precaution dose to healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above 60 years will be accelerated, the ministry stated.