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Centre agrees to increase gap between two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks


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NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday approved extending the gap between the two doses of the Covishield vaccine from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks following a recommendation from a government panel, the Union health ministry said.

However, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has suggested no change for the dosage interval for Covaxin, the ministry said.

"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. No change in interval of Covaxin vaccine doses was recommended," the ministry said.

The present gap between two doses of Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, is 6-8 weeks. The Central government's move comes amid several states reporting shortage of vaccines.

Several states and UTs including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana have decided to opt for global tenders for procurement of anti-coronavirus shots with the domestic supply falling short to meet the rising demand.

This is the second time in the past few months that the interval between the two doses of Covishield has been increased.

In March, the Union health ministry had asked states and UTs to increase the gap from 28 days to 6-8 weeks.

"The recommendation of the COVID-19 Working Group was accepted by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), headed by Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog, in its meeting on May 12, 2021," the ministry said.

The COVID-19 Working Group is chaired by Dr N K Arora, who is director at the INCLEN Trust.

Its members include Dr Rakesh Agarwal, Director and Dean, GIPMER, Puducherry; Dr Gagandeep Kang, 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; and Dr V G Somani, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

 

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)