Top Govt panel calls for 12-16 week gap between Covishield doses
New Delhi: Seeking to alter the interval between Serum Institue of India's Covid-19 vaccine doses, a government panel, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has called for increasing the gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks.
Presently, the interval between two doses of Covishield is four to eight weeks.
The Central Government panel further recommended that pregnant women may be offered the choice to take any Covid-19 vaccine and that lactating women can be inoculated any time after delivery.
Prior to this in March, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) had increased the time interval between two doses of Covishield from 28 days to the revised protocol of 4-8 weeks 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).
It had then said that "protection was enhanced if the second dose of Covishield was administered between six and eight weeks but not later than that".
Now once again, on Thursday, NTAGI has recommended increasing the gap between two doses of the Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks. However, no change in dosage interval for Covaxin has been suggested by the panel.
The NTAGI has also stated that those having laboratory test proven SARS-CoV-2 illness should defer COVID-19 vaccination for six months after recovery, the sources told PTI.
The recommendations of the NTAGI will be sent to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for approval before the changes and suggestions are implemented.
A study published in the medical journal "The Lancet" on February 19 claimed a 26.2 per cent increase - from 55.1 per cent to 81.3 per cent - if doses were spaced 12 or more weeks apart.
NTAGI comprises of government representatives from the Department of Women and Child Development, internal finance division in Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Biotechnology, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) besides health experts.