The Health Ministry on Thursday announced that the gap between the first and second doses of the Covishield vaccine has been increased to 12-16 weeks from the existing six-eight weeks.
The recommendation to increase the interval between the two doses of Covishield was made by the Covid Working Group chaired by Dr. N K Arora. It was based on the new studies that were now available and the “real life experience” from Britain.
“Based on the available real-life evidences, particularly from the UK, the Covid-19 Working Group agreed for increasing the dosing interval to 12-16 weeks between two doses of Covishield vaccine,” a health ministry statement said.
The COVID working group comprises the following members:
• Dr. N K Arora – Director, INCLEN Trust.
• Dr. Rakesh Agarwal, Director and Dean, JIPMER, Puducherry.
• Dr. Gagandeep Kang, professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore.
• Dr. J P Mulliyal, Retd professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore.
• Dr. Naveen Khanna, Group Leader, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), JNU, New Delhi.
• Dr. Amulya Panda, Director, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi.
• Dr. V G Somani, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Govt of India.
The ministry said there will be no change in the interval of Covaxin vaccine doses.
This is the second time in three months that gap between Covishield doses have been increased.
In March, the ministry had asked states to increase the gap from 28 days to six-eight weeks saying the “protection was enhanced if the second dose of Covishield was administered between six and eight weeks but not later than that”.
Taking to Twitter, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan also informed;
“Gap between 2 doses of #CovishieldVaccine has been increased to 12-16 weeks from 6-8 weeks currently.
Decision has been taken based on recommendations given by COVID working group after analysing emerging evidence.”
Gap between 2 doses of #CovishieldVaccine has been increased to 12-16 weeks from 6-8 weeks currently.
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) May 13, 2021
The panel has also suggested 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.