The Union government has asked the state governments to increase the gap between two doses of Covishield—the jab developed against COVID-19 jointly by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford and is being manufactured locally by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).
While the government had earlier recommended a gap of at least 28 days, it is now asking states to maintain a gap of 6-8 weeks. The new diktat is based on the recommendations made by two expert panels. The expert panels have said that the immunity is enhanced if the second dose of Covishield is administered after 6-8 weeks instead of the current 28 days’ gap.
Covishield & Covaxin approved by drug regulator
Notably, Covishield is one of the vaccines approved by the Indian regulator for protection from COVID-19. Covaxin is the other vaccine approved by the Indian regulator. However, the widening of the gap between two doses of the vaccine is applicable only to Covishield.
The letter written by Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan to chief secretaries provides, “In view of the emerging scientific evidence, the interval between two doses of COVID-19 vaccine Covishield has been revisited by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and subsequently by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) in its 20th meeting.”
“Now, the expert panels have recommended administering the second dose of Covishield vaccine at 4-8 weeks’ interval after the first dose, instead of the earlier practiced interval of 4-6 weeks. This decision of revised interval between the two doses is applicable only on Covishield and not Covaxin.”
India COVID-19 status
The health ministry on Monday informed that 46,951 fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India in the past 24 hours. It is the highest single-day surge reported in 2021. The addition of the fresh cases has taken the COVID-19 case tally past 1.16 crore.
The ministry also informed that over 4.50 crore people have been vaccinated so far. Of it, 4.62 lakh people were vaccinated on Sunday.
Also, 212 COVID-19 related deaths were reported by the ministry during this period. The addition of the fresh fatalities has taken India’s death toll due to the deadly virus to 1,59,967.
Of the over 1.16 crore coronavirus cases reported so far, over 3.34 lakh are active cases of the virus. It is 2.87 per cent of the total caseload.
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