Centre to provide free Covid booster dose for 75 days

New Delhi, Jul 13, 2022, IANS

The Centre will provide free booster doses of Covid vaccines for the 18-59 age group at government vaccination centres under a 75-day special drive from July 15, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced on Wednesday.

The free booster dose drive will be held for next 75 days as part of the government's Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India's Independence and to boost the uptake of Covid precaution doses, he said.

"Under the Amrit Mahotsav of Azadi, a 75-day free vaccination campaign will be conducted from July 15, in which all citizens above the age of 18 years will be given free vaccination doses at government centres", Mandaviya said in a tweet. Mandaviya thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this decision.

Urging eligible population to get the precaution doses, he said in subsequent tweet: "With this decision, India's fight against Covid will be strengthened and additional security of citizens will also be ensured. I urge that all adult citizens must get the prevention dose."

Less than 1 per cent of the target population of 77 crore in the 18-59 age group have been administered the precaution dose, as per a source. The initiative has been undertaken to increase the uptake the precautions doses.

However, around 26 per cent of the estimated 16 crore eligible population aged 60 and above as well as healthcare and frontline workers have received the booster dose.

To accelerate the pace of vaccination and encourage booster shots, the government also had initiated the second round of the 'Har Ghar Dastak campaign 2.0' across states and UTs on June 1. The two-month programme is currently underway.