New Delhi: India began administering a “precautionary” dose against Covid-19 on Monday, with the Union Health Ministry saying that more than 9 lakh healthcare and frontline workers and senior citizens received their third shot on the first day of the drive.
“Overall 82 lakh vaccine doses were administered till 7 pm today, taking India’s total vaccination coverage to 152.78 crores,” the Health Ministry further said in a statement.
Out of the overall vaccine doses, 21,49,200 were given to the beneficiaries in the 15-18 years age group.
The precaution or booster doses are being distributed as the country experiences a significant increase in Covid cases. India registered 1,79,723 new Covid-19 cases, the highest in around 227 days, on Monday.
On Monday, 4,91,013 precaution doses were provided to healthcare personnel, 1,90,383 to frontline workers, and 2,54,868 to the 60-plus population with comorbidities, according to statistics from the Health Ministry.
The same Covid-19 vaccine that was administered in the previous two doses was given as the precaution dose to these beneficiaries.
An estimated 1.05 crore healthcare and 1.9 crore frontline workers, and 2.75 crore co-morbid people in the 60-plus category are eligible for the booster dose.
A total of 18,795 people, including 6,212 healthcare workers, got a “precautionary dose” of Covid-19 vaccine in Delhi on Monday, according to government data. As many as 8,040 people aged above 60 and 4,543 frontline workers also got their third dose.
In Maharashtra, a state of special concern because of its large population, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Twitter shortly before midday that the state had provided 91,648 doses.
As per the state Health department, Maharashtra reported 33,470 new COVID-19 cases, down 10,918 from a day ago, taking the tally to 69,53,514. Eight more deaths pushed the toll to 1,41,647.
As the drive began in Gujarat, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel was present at an urban health centre in the state’s capital, Gandhinagar. Over 1.50 lakh beneficiaries received their ‘precaution’ dose.
According to a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office, the goal is to reach nine lakh eligible persons in around 3,500 immunisation centres staffed by more than 17,000 health personnel.
Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin kicked off the drive to administer ‘precaution’ doses at a Chennai centre. According to a statement, the initiative was launched in response to directions from the central government to provide the prophylactic dose to eligible individuals.
Bhopal Collector Avinash Lavania and Inspector General (Bhopal Rural) Irshad Wali were among those who received their precautionary doses at separate camps at the collector’s office in the state capital.
Officials said the drive was carried out at the Pandit Khushilal Sharma Government Ayurveda College in Bhopal, as well as other locations around the state.
An official in West Bengal said the government would administer the precautionary dose to 22 lakh elderly persons, 10.5 lakh health workers, 7.5 lakh frontline troops, and 5 lakh physicians in the state.
“Today, we plan to administer the booster dose to at least two lakh frontline and healthcare workers. The drive will be carried out in all vaccination centres. At present, we have 1.4 crore doses. Hopefully, this will help us give the booster dose also to vulnerable senior citizens in the state,” a health official in West Bengal was quoted by PTI in its report.
To provide the booster dose, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has built over 100 urban primary health clinics. According to authorities, the jabs are also being administered at other state-run and private institutions.
A senior health department official said Speaker S N Patro was among those who received the booster dose among other beneficiaries. The state government has set up 2,276 session sites across districts for the purpose.
The vaccination capacity of each session site has been increased by 20% to expedite the entire process, according to Bijay Panigrahi, director of family welfare and state nodal immunisation officer. He stated that Odisha had targeted 17,52,838 booster injection recipients.