Private vaccination centers can charge up to a maximum of ₹150 as a service charge in addition to the cost of the third Covid-19 vaccine, the government announced on Saturday. The third dose of the vaccine, which the government calls a precautionary dose, will be of the same vaccine administered as the first and second doses, the Union health secretary said after a meeting with all the health secretaries of the state and union territories.
No new registration on CoWIN would be necessary for the precautionary dose as all due beneficiaries are already registered on the platform.
On Friday, the central government announced that all adult citizens will be able to take their precautionary dose from April 10 provided their second injection was given at least nine months earlier. The booster dose has already been rolled out free of charge to frontline workers and people aged 60 and over. But others will have to pay for the precautionary doses that will only be available to them at private vaccination centers.
“Add an extra layer of security!” The precautionary dose will be available for the 18+ age group from April 10, 2022 at private vaccination centres. All 18+ who completed 9 months after the 2nd dose was administered would be eligible for the precautionary dose,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted after the announcement.
The expansion comes at a time when countries around the world are rolling out the booster doses for their citizens to thwart any potential threat from new variants. After the announcement, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said the booster dose of Covishield for all adults will be priced at ₹600 excluding tax. Covovax, which has not been approved as a booster, will cost approximately ₹900 plus tax, once approved.
Congressman Manish Tewari said the government had effectively ignored the rural poor by deciding to open boosters to all adults only at private vaccination centres. He said that ₹900 for a booster dose is out of reach for many individuals, especially daily wagers.
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