In order to increase uptake of the booster shot or precautionary dose of Covid-19 vaccines, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare began a 75-day free vaccination drive for the eligible population.

At the private vaccination centres, the doses will be charged as usual.

As per the Cowin app, nearly 160 crore Covishield doses have been administered till Friday (first, second and booster shots included); while 33.45 crore of Covaxin doses were provided. A little over 12,28,000 doses of Sputnik V have been provided while 6.40 crore of Corbevax codes have been administered. Just 16,500 doses of Covovax has so far been administered in India.

According to Dr Praveen Gupta, Principal Director & Head, Department of Neurology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, there is resurgence in Covid in many parts of the world, including in India. “It has been more than 6 months since most people have been vaccinated. So to bolster the waning immunity against Covid, it (free booster shots) may be a valuable step. It will also help in our fight against Covid and help prevent future waves,” he said.

Covid cases rise

India logged a single-day rise of 20,038 new coronavirus infections, pushing the tally of cases to 4,37,10,027, according to the Union Health Ministry data. This is the second straight day of the country reporting over 20,000 fresh Covid cases. Active cases increased by 2,997.

India reported over 20,000 fresh cases for the first time in 145 days on July 14.

On a 24-hour basis, the country reported 47 fatalities. While there are 17 reconciliation cases from Kerala, the State has also recorded three fresh fatalities on a 24 hour basis. Other States that reported fatalities include Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. Bengal has the highest number of fatalities on a 24-hour basis, at five.

Active cases now comprise 0.32 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.48 per cent, the health ministry said.

States take Action

Meanwhile, in view of rise in cases, some of the State governments are bringing back mask mandates, either across the State or in specific districts where an increase in cases are being reported. For instance, the Cachar district administration of Assam has made it mandatory to wear face masks in all offices and public gatherings in the district.

The Karnataka government, it is being said, has prepared district-wise micro plans for conducting workplace vaccinations along with door-to-door inoculation drive to implement the 75-day Covid Vaccine Amrit Mahotsav.

Meanwhile, the ICMR in a Twitter post today said it has trained 15 research and diagnostic laboratories across the country for early detection of monkeypox.

India on Thursday reported its first monkey pox case, with a 35-old male being from Kerala being infected. The Centre has already rushed a high level team to the State.

“To help country’s preparedness for Monkey Pox detection, 15 virus research and diagnostic labs across the country, which are geographically well distributed and strategically located have already been rtained in diagnostic test by ICMR – NIV, Pune,” ICMR said in a post on the micro-blogging site.

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