Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his national address on December 25 announced that India will start vaccinating kids aged above 15 years from January 3, 2022.
This move, the Prime Minister said, will allay the concerns of parents of the school and college-going kids and also give a fillip to education in India, which has suffered greatly since the outbreak of the pandemic due to the prolonged closure of academic institutions.
As a precautionary measure, India will also administer a third dose or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare and frontline workers from January 10.
Speaking about the need to administer a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare and frontline workers, PM Modi said: “As we are aware, corona warriors and healthcare and frontline workers have contributed greatly to India’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic. They still spend a lot of time in the service of COVID-19 patients.”
He added: “Therefore, as a precautionary measure, the Government of India has decided that to administer a third dose or ‘precaution dose’ of the COVID-19 Vaccine to healthcare and frontline workers. The booster doses will be administered from January 10, 2022.”
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Persons aged above 60 years, i.e., senior citizens, who have comorbidities, will also be administered a third dose or precautionary dose of the coronavirus vaccine based on consultation/ advise of their doctors starting January 10.
The Prime Minister said: “Citizens above 60 years of age with co-morbidities will also have the option of precaution dose of the vaccine on the advice of their doctor. This will also be available from January 10.”Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here