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COVID: India extends boosters to all adults, free dose limits

NEW DELHI – India started providing boosted doses of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults on Sunday but limited the free shots at government centers to frontline workers and those in need. Over age 60.

The doses, which India calls a “preventive” shot rather than a booster, are given to people nine months after they receive their second shot, the health ministry said in a statement on Friday. , the Department of Health said in a statement on Friday. The ministry said those not falling outside the two priority categories would have to pay for the injections at private facilities.

Unlike other countries where many people receive a different vaccine for a booster shot, most Indians have received the same – in most cases, the AstraZeneca vaccine administered by the Institute Serum produced by India, the world’s largest vaccine producer. It accounts for almost 90% of the total doses administered in India, although eight vaccines have been urgently approved.

On Saturday, the Serum Institute of India said it had reduced the price of the AstraZeneca vaccine from $7.90 a dose to $2.96 for private hospitals.

India has so far immunized about 96% of people aged 15 and over with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while about 83% have had both, according to official figures.

India’s ramp-up program started in January when healthcare workers and frontline workers along with people over 60 with health problems were allowed to get vaccinated.

India has recorded a sharp drop in the number of coronavirus infections in recent weeks, with the Ministry of Health reporting 1,054 cases in the last 24 hours.

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