Gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine extended to 12-16 weeks
New Delhi, May 13, 2021
The Government today extended the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19, to 12-16 weeks from the present 6-8 weeks.
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) said this has been done on the recommendation of the COVID Working Group chaired by Dr N K Arora.
"Based on the available real-life evidences, particularly from United Kingdom, 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 doses was recommended," the release said.
Covishield, which is being manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in Pune in partnership with Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Covaxin, indigenously developed and manufactured by Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL), Pune, are among the vaccines cleared for emergency use in India by the Drugs Controller-General of India (DCGI).
The DCGI had, on April 13, also granted permission for the restricted use in emergency situations of the Russia-made Sputnik-V anti-COVID-19 vaccine in India.
Apart from Dr Arora, Director, INCLEN Trust, the COVID Working Group includes 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; and Dr V G Somani, DCGI, Government of India.
The release said 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 May 12.
"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 added.
The Government had initially recommended an interval of 4-8 weeks between the two doses of Covishield when the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 was launched on January 16.
But, on March 22, the Central government wrote to all States and Union Territories (UTs) advising them to increase the interval between the first and second doses of the vaccine to 6-8 weeks, citing scientific evidence that protection is enhanced if this is done.