Interval Period Between 2 Covishield Doses Increased to 4-8 Weeks
Earlier, the interval period between the two doses of the Covishield vaccine was four to six weeks.
The Union Health Secretary Shri Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories on Monday, 22 March, and directed them to increase the interval period between the two doses of Covishield to four-eight weeks.
A press release by the government read, “The Union Health Secretary has urged the 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.”
The interval was revisited by by the National Technical Advisory on Immunisation Group (NTAGI) amid emerging scientific evidence. Following which, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) also reconsidered the interval period.
The health minister in his letter noted, “the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has accepted the recommendations of NTAGI and NEGVAC.”
The evidence suggests that protection against the virus is enhanced if the second dose is administered between six-eight weeks, but not later than the stipulated period of eight weeks.
Earlier, the second dose was administered at an interval of four-six weeks after the first dose. The government highlighted that this decision only pertains to the Covishield vaccine and not to Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
After India witnessed a steady decline in its coronavirus curve following its peak of 90,000-plus cases in September 2020, cases started increasing again rapidly last month, with Maharashtra leading the surge.
On Monday, the ministry reported 46,951 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 1,16,46,081. This is the highest one-day rise in cases since early November.
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