COVID-19 patients will have to wait for three months after recovery to get vaccinated against the virus, mandates a new advisory from the Health Ministry. In a letter to chief sectretaries of all states and union territories on Wednesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the decision has been taken considering "the evolving situation of the pandemic, emerging scientific evidence and experience from across the globe".
The move to defer COVID-19 vaccination for infected patients was taken on the basis of recommendations from National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC). The expert group also recommended deferring vaccination by three months for patients who have received antibody treatment or plasma therapy to defeat the virus.
The waiting period of of three months will be maintained for people who contracted COVID-19 after reciving the first dose of vaccine. They can get the second dose only three months after full clinical recovery.
People with any serious general illness requiring hospitalisation or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the NEGVAC-recommended vaccination advisory said.
If infected after first dose, second dose to be deferred by 3 months after clinical recovery from COVID19. Persons with any other serious illness requiring hospitalization or ICU care to also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the vaccine: Union Health MinistryANI (@ANI) May 19, 2021
In his letter, the Health Secretary stated that an individual can donate blood after 14 days of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, or testing negative for coronavirus on the RT-PCR test if suffering from the COVID-19 vaccine. He also mentioned that COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all lactating mothers.
There is no need for screening vaccine recipients by rapid antigen test (RAT) before administering the COVID-19 vaccine, Bhushan clarified in his letter.
The government had last week extended the gap between two doses of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine to 12-16 weeks, up from the previous maximum of eight weeks, on recommendation of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). Addressing concerns over changes in the gap between two doses, several experts clarified that second jabs anytime within six months of the first are still effective boosters.
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