NEW DELHI — India’s health ministry said on Friday that the country would begin administering a third coronavirus shot for people between the ages of 18 and 60 beginning April 10. Until now, a third shot was only available for health care workers and people 60 years and older.
Health experts expressed relief over the announcement, which comes at a time when cases are spiraling upward in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Germany, France and a number of other countries. “I am delighted, and it is always better late than never,” Dr. Rajesh Parikh, the director of medical research at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai, told NDTV.
The move came with a few limits: People must wait at least nine months between the second and the third shot. And unlike the first two shots, which were free for all, the third shot for people between the ages of 18 and 60 will have to be paid for out of pocket, and will be available exclusively at private facilities. (The shots will still be free for health care workers and people 60 and older.)
A third shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was used in more than 80 percent of India’s inoculations, will cost around $12 (900 rupees), Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, said in television interviews.