Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 22
The central government on Monday advised states to administer the second dose of Covishield at an interval of 4-8 weeks instead of the earlier bracket of four to six weeks.
The government has added that emerging global evidence shows protection from Covishield is greater when the second dose is given between six to eight weeks but not later than eight weeks.
In a letter to states on Monday, union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that in view of the emerging scientific evidence the interval between the two doses of Covishield has been revisited by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization and subsequently by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) in its 20th meeting.
“The recommendation has been revised to provide the second dose of COVISHIELD at 4-8 weeks’ interval after the first dose, instead of the earlier practiced interval of 4 to 6 weeks. This decision of revised time interval between two doses is applicable only to Covishield and not COVAXIN,” Bhushan said.
He wrote to Chief Secretaries of States and UTs and noted that the Ministry of Health had accepted the recommendations of NTAGI and NEGVAC and has thereafter advised the states to ensure the administration of the second dose of Covishield to beneficiaries within this stipulated time interval of 4-8 weeks after the first dose.
“It appears that protection is enhanced if the second dose of COVISHIELD is administered between 6-8 weeks but not later than stipulated period of 8 weeks. We urge states and UTs to instruct the concerned officials accordingly to undertake necessary steps to widely disseminate the message of revised dosing interval amongst programme managers, vaccinators and recipients of COVISHIELD vaccine and ensure adherence of the revised dosing interval,” Bhushan said.
COVID vaccine drive has completed 65 days in India and over 4 crore people have received vaccine doses.
Of these 75 lakh have completed the two dose schedule of vaccination within the four to six weeks window.