India to give COVID booster shots to healthcare workers

MANJUNATH KIRAN / AFP

India will start administering COVID-19 booster shots as a precautionary measure to healthcare and frontline workers from January 10.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement on Saturday, as cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant rose across the country.

In a national address, Modi also said those aged 15-18 would start receiving COVID-19 vaccinations from January 3 and those above 60 with comorbidities would be offered booster shots after recommendation from doctors.

"From the point of view of precaution, the government has decided that healthcare and frontline workers should start getting a precaution dose," Modi said in the speech.

India has reported a swift rise in Omicron cases, with the number reaching 415 overall across 17 states.

Modi's government has been accelerating its vaccination campaign, administering at least one dose to 88 per cent of the eligible 944 million population, while 61 per cent have taken both doses.

As millions still await second shots, the authorities will now start offering booster shots to healthcare and frontline workers, who suffered from an overwhelming second-wave of the virus in the summer that killed tens of thousands.

Medical experts have said India needs to double down on its vaccination campaign and expand coverage to avert another possible surge in new infections particularly in the vast hinterlands where healthcare facilities are sparse.

Modi urged citizens to continue to wear facemasks and follow other COVID-19 protocols.

The federal government has urged states to impose curbs on overcrowding in the festive season until the new year and a few states have partially banned public celebrations.

COVID-19 infections in the nation of 1.3 billion people has fallen by almost half from a month ago.

In the past 24 hours, India reported 7,189 new infections, with an overall tally of 34.78 million, the second-highest globally behind only the United States.

More from International

Coming Up on Dubai Eye

  • Nights on Dubai Eye 103.8

    11:00pm - 6:00am

    Dubai Eye complements the conversation with the music you love from the eighties, nineties and newer.

  • The Business Breakfast

    6:00am - 10:00am

    The Business Breakfast is the day’s must listen for the UAE’s business leaders, and those who aspire to be.

BUSINESS BREAKFAST LATEST

On Dubai Eye

  • Flying Taxis

    It sounds like an episode of The Jetsons, but the sight of flying taxis whizzing around our cities could be much closer than you think.

  • Tough penalties for deliberate tax evasion

    The UAE has said that tougher penalties will come into force from 1st August for not keeping proper corporate tax records.