Several private hospitals in the city on Thursday received queries from people who were keen to take their Covid booster doses after the Centre reduced the gap between the second and the third doses from nine to six months.
At some hospitals in the city, people who had taken their second dose more than six months ago but are yet to complete nine months were administered the booster shot on Thursday.
The Centre had on Wednesday reduced the gap between the second dose of any Covid vaccine and the booster or precaution dose from nine to six months.
The Telegraph had on June 23 reported that the state government had written to the Centre, requesting for a reduction in the gap between the second and booster dose of Covid vaccines.
An official of the state health department had said international travellers were allowed to take the precaution dose three months after the second dose. So, there should not be any problem in reducing the gap for others.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Wednesday the health ministry had accepted a recommendation from a technical panel to shorten the gap between the second dose and the precaution dose to six months, or 26 weeks.
On Thursday, Belle Vue Clinic received over 40 calls from people who wanted to know if the hospital would vaccinate them following the reduction in the required duration between the second and the third dose.
Pradip Tondon, chief executive officer of Belle Vue, said callers also wanted to know whether the hospital was still administering Covid vaccines.
At the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, about 10 persons who had become eligible for the booster dose following the Centre’s announcement got the shot on Thursday.
“Ten people on Day 1 was good. We expect more people to come for the booster dose in the coming days. We have already got 80 bookings for Saturday. We are expecting a higher turnout this Saturday, compared with earlier Saturdays,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, Narayana Health, which runs the RN Tagore hospital.
Rupak Barua, Group CEO of AMRI Hospitals, said three units of the hospital had received close to 50 queries from people who became eligible for booster doses from Thursday.
The change was welcomed by many Kolkatans. A college student who became eligible for the booster dose after the tweak said she would take the shot next week.
“I was worried that physical classes had resumed but I was not eligible for the booster. I will take the booster dose next week,” she said.