India to offer Covid booster shots to all adults A health worker inoculates a man with a dose of a vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus during a vaccination drive for the elderly in Chennai on January 22, 2022. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP)
India will make Covid-19 booster shots available to all adults for a fee from Sunday, officials said, as the number of new virus cases in the country drops sharply.
The nation of 1.3 billion has administered 1.85 billion shots so far, giving 96 percent of the population a single dose and 83 per cent two jabs.
“It has been decided that a precautionary dose of the Covid vaccine will be made available to the 18+ population at private vaccination centres,” the health ministry said in a statement Friday.
The ministry said that those who had taken their second dose nine months previously would be eligible for the shot, which they will have to pay for at private facilities.
The government in January launched a state-funded booster programme for health workers and people older than 60, which has since administered 24 million shots.
India launched its inoculation campaign in January last year, banking on homemade vaccines Covishield and Covaxin.
The country has recorded a steep dip in the number of coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with the health ministry reporting around 1,100 cases on Friday.
India remains the world’s third-worst affected nation by the virus after the United States and Brazil.
More than 521,000 people have died and over 40 million have been infected across the country since the pandemic began in January 2020, according to official figures.
At least 4,000 people were dying every day at the height of the pandemic in India between March and May last year, according to official figures, which are widely thought to be an underestimate.