- Indian Government says second dose gap of Covishield to be increased up to 8 weeks
- As of now the gap between two doses is 28 days, or between four and six weeks
- The instruction comes out in the middle of round 2 of nationwide vaccinations
The central government has written to both states and the Union territories (UTs) that the gap between two doses of the Covishield vaccine – which is the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine – should be increased to 6 to 8 weeks from 28 days for better results.
The instructions from the centre come in the middle of the second round of pan-India vaccination wherein the people who are above the age of 60 and those above the age of 45 with other illnesses are being inoculated.
One thing to note here is that the revised interval applies to only the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield which has been developed by Oxford AstraZeneca, and not to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, the centre said in its letter on Monday.
As of now, the gap between two doses is 28 days and in some cases between four and six weeks.
The letter from centre said, “In view of the emerging scientific evidence, the interval between two doses of a specific COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, has been revisited by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and subsequently by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19”.
The letter said it appeared that the “protection was enhanced if the second dose of Covishield was administered between six and eight weeks but not later than that.”
Both COVID-19 vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – have been used in the vaccination drive run by the government since the 16th of January with the healthcare workers to start with and then the other frontline workers.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India earlier had said that 2 doses of vaccine must be taken 28 days apart to complete the immunisation schedule. The “protective levels of antibodies” were generally developed two weeks after receiving the second dose, the Union Health Ministry had said.
Since the start of the vaccination drive in the country, more than 4.5 crore vaccine doses have been administered.
In the past few weeks, India has seen a surge in the active cases of the deadly COVID-19 and since the 18th of March, India has been reporting more than 30,000 cases daily.
As per NDTV, India reported almost 47,000 new coronavirus infections today which is a four-month high and the highest so far in the year 2021.
The nationwide COVID-19 tally in India now stands at 1,16,46,081, as per the data shared by the Union health ministry.