‘Need of the hour’: Maharashtra welcomes Centre’s decision to administer booster shots amid Omicron scare

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Written by Meenakshi Ray | Edited by Shubhangi Gupta, Mumbai

The Maharashtra government on Sunday welcomed the Centre’s decision to administer Covid-19 vaccines to children and “precaution dose” to healthcare and frontline workers as well as people above the age of 60 with comorbidities.

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said those shots are a “need of the hour”, especially amid concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, considered more transmissible than the previous strains responsible for the earlier waves of the pandemic in the country.

“We welcome the central government’s decision on boosters for 60+ and frontline staff and vaccines for 15-18 years. Booster dose amid Omicron scare is need of the hour,” news agency ANI quoted Rajesh Tope as saying.

“PM Modi has fulfilled the demand of booster dose and Covid-19 vaccines for children. We demanded that children should be vaccinated for keeping them safe as schools are reopening,” he added.

In an address to the nation on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the vaccination drive for children of age 15 and above will begin from January 3 onwards.

The Prime Minister also said “precaution doses” for health care, frontline workers and people above the age of 60 with certain health conditions.

In a televised address late in the evening, the Prime Minister also outlined the preparations made by the government to tackle any surges.

“We all have experienced that those who are Corona warriors, health care and frontline workers, they have a huge contribution in keeping the country safe in this fight… Therefore, from the point of view of precaution, the government has decided that a ‘precaution dose’ of vaccine will also be started for health care and frontline workers,” PM Modi said.

The recent announcement came amid widespread concerns over a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic which, experts fear, will be sparked by the Omicron variant. India’s tally of Omicron cases has already surpassed 400 and Maharashtra has the most number of such infections.

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