Administering booster dose

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India has started administering the precaution (booster) dose of Covid vaccine to healthcare and frontline workers, and comorbid people aged 60 and above from today in a bid to stymie the coronavirus spread driven by its Omicron variant. An estimated 1.05 crore healthcare and 1.9 crore frontline workers, and 2.75 crore comorbid people in the 60 plus age group would be administered the precaution dose according to schedule. There would be no mix-and-match of vaccines for the precaution dose. The beneficiaries would be given the same vaccine as their previous two jabs. According to guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry, the gap between the date of administering the second dose of vaccine and the precaution dose would be nine months (39 weeks). In the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir also the campaign was launched today with Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha taking the precautionary jab at Jammu. Prime Minister on the Christmas last year made an announcement in this regard and also regarding the vaccination of children between the age group of 15-18. The vaccination for this age group has already been started from Jan 03 and the campaign is going on efficiently all over the country. Thankfully, unlike when the Covid vaccination drive was launched last year, this time around there was very little or no vaccination hesitancy. People of the country finally have understood the importance of vaccination and are now voluntarily coming forward to get the jab.

Allowing booster dose and launching vaccination drive for the people in 15-18 age group was decided in the wake of spread of the Omicorn variant of Covid that has been spreading in the world like wild fire. The entire nation is in the grip of widely spreading infections once again. The number of positive cases is increasing alarmingly with every passing day. In Jammu and Kashmir too, the infection has started spreading wildly. The seriousness of the situation can be gauged by one simple example. On 31st of Dcmber, 2021, total number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in Jammu and Kashmir was 123 and on 9th of January, 2021, it was 687. The daily numbers of infections have increased more than six times and therefore need to be taken very seriously. The only silver lining in this depressive and disturbing atmosphere is that nearly 90 per cent of the infected people, who need hospitalization are those who haven’t got vaccinated. This indicates that importance and effectiveness of the vaccines.  That said, vaccination is not the only thing that can help counter the spread coronavirus. This virus, as per experts, is acting weirdly and thus can trick anyone, anytime. Therefore, the people have to understand that they themselves have to defeat the deadly virus. People need to understand that the virus is very much here and is remerging in different and tricky variants and despite the massive vaccination drive, it is going to stay and therefore following the SOPs is the only way to defeat it. People need to adopt Covid-19 SOPs as a new normal because nothing will change immediately. It is every individual’s responsibility to ensure that he/she helps in breaking the chain of infection and that is possible only if everyone adheres to ongoing SOPs. Wearing masks, maintaining social distance and washing hands frequently are the new norms and people should prepare themselves to follow these for a longer period and it is peoples’ attitude that would help to keep this place safe from the new Omicron variant.

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