The government has asked state and union territory governments to increase the gap between two doses of Serum Institute's vaccine Covishield to 6-8 weeks, instead of the practiced interval of 4-6 weeks. The Centre said that immunity is enhanced if the second dose is administered after a gap of 6-8 weeks instead of the current gap of 28 days. The decision was taken on the basis of recommendations by two expert panels.
This is only for the Covishield vaccine and not for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
"In view of the emerging scientific evidence, the interval between two doses of a specific COVID-19 vaccine i.e. COVISHIELD, has been revisited by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and subsequently by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) in its 20th meeting. During this meeting, the recommendation has been revised to provide 2nd dose of COVISHIELD at 4-8 weeks' interval after the 1st dose, instead of earlier practiced interval of 4-6 weeks. This decision of revised time interval between two doses is applicable ONLY to COVISHIELD and NOT to COVAXIN Vaccine," stated the Centre in its letter to the states and UTs.
In the letter by Union Health Secretary Shri Rajesh Bhushan, he said that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has accepted the recommendations of NTAGI and NEGVAC, following which the Centre advised the states and UTs to administer the dose after an interval of 4-8 weeks.
The Centre said that protection is enhanced if the second dose of Covishield is administered between 6-8 weeks but not later than a period of 8 weeks. "The Union Health Secretary has urged the States and UTs to instruct the concerned officials accordingly to undertake necessary steps to widely disseminate the message of revised dosing interval amongst programme managers, vaccinators and recipients of COVISHIELD vaccine and ensure adherence of the revised dosing interval," said the Centre.