A booster (precautionary) dose is a dose that is given to people after they have taken two doses of covid-19 vaccine so that people are not at risk of getting an infection. There are many vaccines which are available on the market but the most used vaccines are Covshield (AstraZeneca) and then Covaxin (Bharat Biotech). After that some other vaccines are Sputnik V (Russian), Cominarity (Pfizer) and Coverbax. But each of them has a different time in which doses were administered to the citizens in different countries. The timing of administering the second or third vaccine was decided as per the availability of the vaccine in the country. It took almost a year to create a vaccine as the whole world of scientists got to research possible cures or immunity boosters that would reduce the probability of any risk of infection in the people. But it took a lot of time for the companies to produce the vaccine in such large quantities due to which the government had to control the second dose and third dose administration to the people.
As per the Cowin website, a person could get the booster shot in 9 months or now 6 months. But the truth is that a Covshield booster shot could be given in 3 months as covid-19 is still mutating then people are at risk of getting an infection. The government of India decided to give booster shots to its people from 10 April. So people above the age of 60 could get a shot free at a nearby government hospital by showing their photo id and vaccine certificate. Anyone less than the age of 60 has to go to a private hospital to take the booster shot. As the covid-19 is still mutating so people should take booster shots regularly every 6 months so the government reduce the price of the vaccine.
The rules for covid-19 keep on change regularly which is affected by the cases appearing in various cities of the countries. The countries can’t block their air travel so a person might get infected in foreign countries and may carry that virus in their country. So it means that it is important for people to get the covid-19 booster shots as well but people don’t seem to care about it as much. The reason behind this is the lack of motivation by the government. Now people are roaming around without masks, sanitizers and social distancing but there is still a chance that people might get infected. People are not concerned as the cases are not increasing as quickly and the mutated version is not as deadly. So people have resumed their normal lives and forgotten about any virus or any vaccine.
The government has done its part and reduced the price of booster shots to around ₹350 in India. It is a great disadvantage to the private hospitals who were earlier charging around ₹1000-1200 to people for doses 1 and 2. The government hospitals can’t give free shots to people below the age of 60 as per government regulation while the private hospitals are unconcerned in this matter as the government has reduced the price. Private hospitals don’t want to create an unnecessary hassle for administering booster shots as now they don’t have a great margin. If the booster shot is ₹ 350 then there must be some margin that any hospital would gain from administering the vaccine but the private hospitals had charged a maximum of ₹1200 which they can’t do now as the government has fixed the price.
It is hard to find private hospitals in Jaipur if people are willing to pay ₹ 350 but private hospitals are not willing to vaccinate people as they were a year ago. People who have taken their second dose are not even concerned about taking booster shots as they don’t think their life is endangered. These covid-19 booster shots have now become a business for the pharmaceutical companies who made as they would try to earn as much as they can from it. It might not be possible for the people to pay ₹1000 every year or twice a year for every member of their family because India is largely a poor country. This is the reason why the government reduced the price of booster shots but they are not encouraging people to get these shots. When the first doses were given to the people the government-run various campaigns to encourage people but that can’t see now. So can we think that there is no need to take the booster shot or precautionary dose?
In foreign countries, people got booster shots even before it was started in India. India started giving vaccines to its people around 10 April and now as the time limit has been changed to 6 months from the earlier 9 months in India. As per the ministry of health and family welfare around 191 Crore (1, 91, 15, 90,370) vaccine has been given to Indian people which includes both doses 1, 2 and precautionary doses. India has 500 active cases of covid-19 and has registered 5, 24,201 death which is 1.22% of the Indian population (14 May). Around 2 Crore (2,92,76,565) people have been given precautionary doses who are above the age of 60 but in the 18-59 years age bracket, only 13 lakh (13,12,220) people are taken booster shots or precautionary doses. Even if set aside the gap of nine or six months, then this data is not very encouraging and at this rate, people would not take a second precautionary dose unless it is for the 60 plus people. So is it scary that people are not taking a precautionary dose or it is time to think that we have won covid-19?
I could not possibly think that covid-19 has gone away but the government would have to encourage the private hospital to administer a precautionary dose to the people otherwise it would not do so. The government hospital is not allowed to even give precautionary doses the people under 60 years even if they pay for it. So, where would the common man or woman go to take the vaccine? This is a great tactic on the part of government hospitals as it would reduce the vaccine crowd that fills up the hospital as it affects the treatment of vulnerable people who visit the hospital regularly for different ailments other than covid-19. Is it just the duty of the government hospital to fight against covid-19 and private hospitals just sit back and watch as they could not give up their time and resources to fighting this deadly disease which can change its course at any time? When covid-19 hit the world than even developed countries’ infrastructure fell short and people died even without being treated. India suffered in the second wave due to a lack of resources like oxygen cylinders and hospital beds. Even though people have put up various oxygen plants now but they were not there when it was needed which mismanagement on the part of the government is as they could not foresee this calamity. Now we are still being unconcerned about covid-19, there are still active cases in other countries so it means covid-19 has not gone anywhere but these types diseases do not ever go away. So I think what we need is to stay cautious so that it does not hit us when we least expect it.
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