The National Immunization Technical Advisory Group has recommended that the gap between two doses of Covishield—the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19—should be increased to 12-16 weeks. However, no change in vaccination schedule has been recommended for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin which continues to remain 4-6 weeks.
The government panel has also said that pregnant women can choose their vaccine and lactating women are also eligible for the vaccine. Under the current norms, both these categories are ineligible to get the jabs. The panel has sent the recommendations to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration seeking approval before they are implemented.
Gap between Covishield jabs widened in March
This is the second time in three months that Covishield dosage intervals have been widened. In March, states and Union Territories were told to increase the gap from 28 days to six-eight weeks “for better results”.
The Centre had then said the protection provided by the jab increases if a gap of six-eight weeks is maintained between two doses.
Clinical trial on 2-18 age group
India’s drug regulator has given Bharat Biotech permission to conduct clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin, on children between the age of 2 and 18. The trial involves two vaccine doses injected on day 0 and day 28.
The trial will take place in 525 subjects at various sites, including AIIMS, Delhi, AIIMS, Patna, and Meditrina Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur.
India facing vaccine shortage
India is terribly short of vaccines resulting in chaos in its ambitious vaccination drive. Many states have declared that will have to stop the vaccination of people in the 18-44 age group so that people above 45 can be administered their second dose.
The Union government has time and again refuted the allegations of vaccine shortage and tried to blame the state governments. However, the reality remains completely different exposing the tall claims of the Centre. The vaccination drive has significantly slowed down due to the shortage of vaccines as is evident in the data compiled by the Union health ministry.
So far 17.72 crore jabs of the vaccines have been administered. Only 3.95 crore people have taken two doses of the vaccine. Only Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have administered over 1 crore doses of the vaccine each.
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