New Delhi: Private hospitals across the country began administering a precautionary dose of Covid to all adults on Sunday. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya posted in Hindi on Twitter, “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government is taking several steps to defeat COVID. Taking another step, the administration of the precautionary dose of COVID has started.

Those over the age of 18 and who have completed nine months of their second dose of the vaccine are eligible for a third dose. A day before the start of precautionary dosing for all, two of India’s leading vaccine makers – Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech – announced a major reduction in vaccine prices for private hospitals. The two major COVID vaccines of India’s National Immunization Program – Covishield and Covaxin – have been made available in private hospitals at Rs 225 per dose.

Private COVID immunization centers can charge a maximum of Rs 150 as service fee for a precautionary dose over and above the cost of the vaccine. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in guidelines to states on Saturday said that private centers should declare the price per dose as per the prices announced by the manufacturers, which they will charge on co-vin.

The Co-Vin system will send SMS alerts to all citizens who will be eligible for their third shot based on the first vaccination details in their digital records. As per the guidelines, booster shots will be given in private hospitals against payment, while health workers, frontline workers and priority groups of persons above 60 years of age will get their third dose free of cost at government immunization centres.