India will start charging all adults on Sunday as the number of new cases in the country plummets.

India will provide booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to all adults starting Sunday as the number of new virus cases in the country plummets.

The free third dose of the vaccine will be limited to frontline workers and people over 60 who are vaccinated at government centres.

The country has administered 1.85 billion doses of the vaccine to its population of 1.35 billion. Of that, 82% is the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is produced domestically and called Covishield.

People who got their second dose nine months ago will be eligible for the vaccine, and they will have to pay at a private facility, where mixing and matching vaccines is not allowed, the Ministry of Health said.

“Adds an extra layer of security,” Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted of the decision.

The boost program, which began in January, is limited to frontline workers and the elderly, with a total of 24 million doses administered.

Other vaccines used in India are domestically developed Covaxin and Corbevax and Russia’s Sputnik V.

In March, reports emerged that India was considering making all adults eligible for booster doses amid rising infections in some countries, while some Indians are finding it difficult to travel abroad without a third dose.

Coronavirus cases in the South Asian country have fallen sharply in recent weeks, with the health ministry reporting about 1,100 cases on Friday.

India remains the third worst-hit country in the world by the virus after the United States and Brazil.

According to official figures, more than 521,000 people have died nationwide and at least 40 million have been infected since the pandemic began in January 2020.

Official figures show at least 4,000 deaths a day at the height of India’s outbreak between March and May last year, which are widely believed to be underestimated.