Mumbai: The Health Ministry has accepted the COVID Working Group’s recommendation of extending the gap between the two doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks from the current six eight weeks.
“The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also accepted this recommendation of the COVID Working Group for extension of the gap between the first and second doses of COVISHIELD vaccine to 12 -16 weeks,” it said.
“Based on the available real-life evidence, 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 an interval of COVAXIN vaccine doses was recommended,” the statement read.
“The recommendation of the COVID 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 12th May 2021,” the statement said.
NTAGI also suggested that “pregnant women may be offered the choice to take any Covid-19 vaccine while lactating women are eligible for jabs any time after the delivery”.
This is the second time in three months that the Covishield dosing interval has been widened; The states and union territories of March recorded an increase from six days to eight weeks for “better results”.
India started the world’s largest vaccination drive on January 16 this year in a phased manner with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated first. The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started on February 2.