Delhi will provide free COVID-19 precautionary dose to beneficiaries in the 18-59 age group at government vaccination centres, the city health department said on Thursday. The administration of the precautionary or third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to the 18-plus population through private vaccination centres had started across the country on April 10.
"In order to give the benefit of precaution dose to all eligible beneficiaries in Delhi, the same will be available for 18 to 59 years' age group, free of cost in all government CVCs from April 21," the health department said in an order. Necessary changes have been made in the Co-WIN portal for Delhi wherein both "online appointment and walk-in will be available", it said.
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The decision comes amid a spurt in the number of infections in the capital. The Delhi government on Wednesday made the wearing of masks mandatory in public places and announced a fine of Rs 500 on violators, just eight days after it had relaxed this norm due to a decline in cases.
Delhi has also started genome sequencing of samples of all Covid-infected people to ascertain if a new variant, such as the XE, has spread in the city.
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.