The government has approved Biological E's Corbevax as a precaution dose for those above 18 years fully vaccinated with either Covishield or Covaxin, official sources said on Wednesday, 10 August.
This is for the first time that a booster dose that is different from the one used for primary vaccination against COVID has been allowed in the country.
The sources told PTI that the Union Health Ministry's approval is based on the recommendations made recently by the COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI).
"Corbevax will be considered as a precaution dose after completion of six months or 26 weeks from the date of administration of the second dose of either Covaxin or Covishield vaccines for those aged above 18 years enabling use of Corbevax as a heterologous COVID-19 vaccine for precaution dose administration in this age group," the sources said.
This will be in addition to the existing guidelines for homologous precaution dose administration of Covaxin and Covishield vaccine, the sources added.
All necessary changes in regard to the administration of precaution dose of Corbevax vaccine are being made on the Co-WIN portal.
India's first indigenously developed RBD protein subunit vaccine Corbevax is currently being used to inoculate children in the age group of 12 to 14 years under the COVID-19 immunisation programme.
The COVID-19 Working Group (CWG), in its 20 July meeting, reviewed data of the double-blind randomised phase-3 clinical study which evaluated the immunogenicity and safety of booster dose of Corbevax vaccine when administered to COVID-19-negative adult volunteers of age 18-80 years previously vaccinated with two doses of either Covishield or Covaxin.
"Following the examination of the data, the CWG observed that Corbevax vaccine can induce significant increase in antibody titers when given to those who have received either Covaxin or Covishield, which is likely to be protective as per the neutralisation data also," the sources said.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on 4 June approved Corbevax as a precaution dose for those aged 18 and above.
India began administering precaution doses of vaccines to healthcare and frontline workers and those aged 60 and above with co-morbidities from 10 January.
The country began inoculating children aged 12-14 from March 16 and also removed the comorbidity clause making all people aged above 60 eligible for the precaution dose of Covid vaccine.
India on April 10 began administering precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccines to all aged above 18 years.
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