india woman vaccine covid
A medical worker inoculates a young woman with a dose of the coronavirus vaccine at Moti Lal Nehru Medical College vaccination centre during India's vaccination drive to those above 18 years of age amid COVID-19 pandemic in Prayagraj, Wednesday, May 05, 2021. Image Credit: PTI

Mumbai: Indian citizens and students travelling abroad are now eligible to take a booster shot as needed, the country's health minister said on Thursday.

The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), in its meeting on Wednesday, discussed and recommended allowing the administration of precautionary doses before nine months for those who are travelling abroad, according to the receiving country's needs.

"Indian citizens & students travelling overseas can now take the precaution dose as required by the guidelines of the destination country," federal health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Twitter.

The government has also decided to reduce the gap between the second dose and booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for persons travelling abroad to a minimum of 90 days, sources said.

However, no recommendation has been made over reducing the gap in booster dose for everybody.

There is a mix of views of experts over reducing the gap of booster doses in India as less number of people have shown interest in getting a third dose as a precaution dose despite being allowed by the Centre for those above the age of 18.

According to Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, co-chairman of the IMA national task force who conducted a study said the longer gap gives better immunity between the primary vaccination and the third dose against COVID-19 infection. Adding that, he said, "We found that if the second dose is taken very recent, it did not make any difference."

He further said, "We have seen people who waited for six months or longer after the second dose, we found that the third dose has made difference."