Health Ministry releases revised time interval between two doses of Covishield
New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has increased the time interval between two doses of Covishield from 28 days to the revised protocol of 4-8 weeks. However, the increased interval does not apply to Covaxin.
The decision comes in light of the recommendation of two expert groups namely the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC).
In its recent release, the Health Ministry said,
"In view of the emerging scientific evidence, the interval between two doses of a specific COVID-19 vaccine i.e. COVISHIELD has been revisited by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and subsequently by NEGVAC in its 20th meeting during which the recommendation has been revised to provide 2 doses of COVISHIELD at 4-8 weeks' interval after 1st dose instead of earlier practised interval of 4-6 weeks."
"Keeping the existing scientific evidence in view, it appears that protection is enhanced if the second dose of COVISHIELD is administered between 6-8 weeks, but not later than the stipulated period of 8 weeks," the letter by Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan added.
Citing the above, the Government has instructed the concerned officials 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 to revised dosing interval.
It further clarified,
"The decision of the revised time interval between two doses is applicable only to COVISHIELD and NOT to COVAXIN Vaccine."
COVID-19 vaccination drive in India has completed 65 days during which 3.75 crore beneficiaries have been vaccinated. Out of which 75 lakh beneficiaries have completed the two-dose schedule of vaccination 4-6 weeks apart as per the recommendation of NEGVAC.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd's Covaxin which are being used in the government's vaccination drive started on 16 January with healthcare workers and frontline workers.