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Centre considering reducing the gap between two doses of Covishield

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The Union government is considering reducing the interval between two doses of Covishield— the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and locally manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India. As of now, the gap between two doses of Covishield is at least 84 days.

Notably, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI) is expected to soon take a call on the gap between two doses of Covishield—the vaccine that formed the core of India’s vaccination drive.

Initially, the gap between two doses of the vaccine was 4-6 weeks just like Covaxin when the immunization drive began in January. However, the gap was increased to 6-8 weeks and then to 12-16 weeks by the government. The move attracted criticism as many said that the government was doing so because of the shortage of vaccines. The government, however, justified the move saying that a longer gap would result in the production of more antibodies against the virus among the vaccinated.

Vaccine supply

Vaccine supply in the country has gradually gone up as companies added to their production capacities. Serum Institute had said that it will be able to supply 20 crore doses of Covishield in September and that it has already supplied 12 crore doses of the vaccine in August. Bharat Biotech’s supply of Covaxin is likely to increase to 5.8 crore by the end of the current month.

India’s vaccination drive

Since the beginning of the vaccination drive in January, India has so far administered over 60.38 crore doses of the vaccines. Of it, 46.68 crore are first doses whereas 13.69 crore are second doses. Several states including Gujarat are leading the vaccination drive in the country and the Centre aims to complete the immunisation of all adults in the country by December-end. So far, there are no vaccines approved in India for children and adolescents.

 

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