Uptick in booster demand amid fears of new strain, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Covid-19: Uptick in booster demand amid fears of new strain

Bhubaneswar: There has been an almost eight-fold rise in the number of booster dose (precaution dose) recipients in private hospitals in the state after the detection of Omicron‘s new variant BF.7, as the government does not have any vaccine stock for free vaccination.

While five days ago, the empanelled 12 private hospitals together would see 100 people taking the third jab daily, now around 800 people are taking the precaution dose every day, according to the state health department. Those above 18 years of age and have taken both the doses are eligible to take the third dose.

In January 2022, following the outbreak of the third wave involving Omicrons BA.2 variant, people were keen to receive the third dose of vaccine. However, the interest of people waned after the impact of the third wave fizzled out too soon.

At present, the government is waiting for a response from the Centre on getting fresh vaccine stock as people now are asking for the booster dose in view of the new variant spreading fast in some countries. “We have no information on when we will get the vaccine consignment. Since November 29, the vaccine stock has been exhausted. We are waiting for the stock to come. The private hospitals are now administering Covaxin and Covishield,” said Bijay Panigrahi, director of family welfare.

He said 41 per cent of the total eligible vaccine beneficiaries have taken the booster dose while 59 per cent have given it a miss so far. “They may now take it in view of the rising cases in other countries,” he said.

Between January and April, only 147 doses of booster dose had been administered among the 18-plus beneficiaries in private hospitals. The Centre started the country-wide drive to give the third dose to 18-plus in private hospitals on payment.

In July, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) organised vaccine camps in malls to give booster dose to people in the 18 to 59 age group. The move was aimed at encouraging youngsters to take the vaccine as malls are the hangout zones of youths.

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