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Precautionary dose only applicable after 9 months of 2nd dose: Dr R S Sharma

The third dose is only applicable after nine months of receiving the second Covid-19 vaccine shot

Healthcare workers and those above the age of 60 and suffering from co-morbidities will be applicable for the 'precautionary dose' of coronavirus vaccines from next month only after 9 months of receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Dr. R S Sharma, Chief Executive officer at National Health Authority.

Dr Sharma, who also heads the functioning of the CoWIN platform in an exclusive interview to ANI on Monday said that the third dose is only applicable after nine months of receiving the second COVID-19 vaccine shot. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on December 25 announced that the country would begin administering 'precautionary doses' to those above the age of 60 and suffering from co-morbidities from January 10, next year.

"The process will be exactly the same. When you are more than 60 years of age and you have already been given two doses and if you want to register for the third dose, the gap between the second dose and the day you are registering or the day you are getting the third dose should be more than nine months which is 39 weeks," said Dr. Sharma.

The CoWIN platform chief Dr. Sharma further explained the requirement of a comorbidity certificate from a registered physician is mandatory for the third shot. "When you are eligible and you register you will be asked whether you suffer from any of the comorbidities which have already been described in the earlier circular by the health ministry. If you say yes I do suffer from comorbidity then you can register and thereafter you can go to the vaccination centre. You have to show your comorbidity certificate given by your registered physician to summarize your problem doctor and thereafter you will be able to get the job so there is nothing different. The rules related to registration are the same and rules related to vaccinations are the same."

Responding to a question on the Covid pandemic that led to the rapid adoption of technology in the healthcare space Dr Sharma said, "During this period, because of the restrictions of movements, etc, people have adopted digital means of communication. I think the adoption of technology has been the only positive aspect of this pandemic, otherwise, it has been disastrous for all of us. Similarly, digital payments have also increased very significantly. I think, from a digital standpoint, the adoption of digital technologies has seen an acceleration due to this pandemic."

On the expansion of other government-run healthcare programs like immunization and digitization, Dr. Sharma said, "So the platform will be redeployed, repurposed for universal immunization program, for managing the blood banking ecosystem and probably other programs also, which are similar to this kind of program where there are stakeholders, one is a provider and other is a seeker. And then you know, we want to have coverage, comprehensive coverage, so universal immunization program will be a very good candidate for COVID to be replicated."

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