India will make the vaccines available to all adults for a fee starting Sunday as the number of new cases in the country falls sharply.
India will offer booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to all adults starting Sunday as the number of new virus cases in the country drops sharply.
Free third doses of the vaccine will be limited to front-line workers and those over 60 who receive it at government facilities.
The country has received 1.85 billion vaccinations dose among its population of 1.35 billion. Of these, 82 percent are domestically manufactured AstraZeneca vaccines called Covishield.
The ministry said those who took their second dose nine months ago would be eligible for the injection, which they will have to pay for at private facilities with no mixing and matching of vaccines allowed.
“Add an extra layer of security,” Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in a Twitter post marking the decision.
The booster schedule started in january and was limited to front-line workers and the elderly, administering a total of 24 million doses.
Other vaccines used in India are those developed in the country covaxin and Corbevax and Russia’s Sputnik V.
In March, reports said India was considering making all adults eligible for booster doses at a time of rising infections in some countries, while some Indians were finding it difficult to travel abroad without a third dose.
The South Asian country has seen a sharp drop in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with the Health Ministry reporting roughly 1,100 cases on Friday.
India remains the third most affected nation in the world by the virus after the United States and Brazil.
More than 521,000 people have died and at least 40 million have been infected across the country since the pandemic began in January 2020, according to official figures.
At least 4,000 people were dying every day at the height of the pandemic in India between March and May last year, according to official figures, which are believed to be underestimates.