Gap between two doses of Covishield extended to 12-16 weeks, says government

A nurse is ready to administer a shot of Covishield vaccine to a beneficiary, in West Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Union government has accepted the recommendation for extension of the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks. The present one is 6-8 weeks.

The Union Health Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the decision was based on “available real-life evidence particularly from the U.K. The COVID-19 working group chaired by N.K. Arora recommended increasing the dosing interval to 12-16 weeks between two doses of Covishield vaccine while suggesting no change in interval of Covaxin vaccine doses.’’

Also read: The Hindu Explains | How far can people delay taking the second shot of COVID-19 vaccine?

The panel had also recommended that those infected with COVID-19 should be administered a vaccine after six months and people who had received plasma during treatment should get vaccinated at least after 12 weeks.

The Ministry said the recommendation of the COVID working group was also accepted by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC), headed by Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog, in a meeting on May 12.

‘After a careful study’ 

At a press conference on Thursday, Dr. Paul said that the dosing interval extension had been recommended after a careful study without pressure from anyone and in consultation with the World Health Organization.

This is the second time in three months Covishield dosage intervals have been widened by the Health Ministry. In March, the States and Union Territories were directed to increase the gap from 28 days to six-eight weeks for better results.

Dr. Paul said, “We must have faith in the scientific process followed in the country. Every drop of vaccine available with the government has been used for the people and the aim is to vaccinate the maximum population. There is a vaccine for everyone. Nearly 18 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in India so far’’.

One-third of those above 45 were protected and have been given the first dose of the vaccine. “This group also contributes to 88% of COVID-19 deaths, so you can imagine how much dent it would have made to reduce the risk of death of this population,’’ he noted.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 8:17:59 PM |

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