According to reports, the interval between two shots will be evaluated for the third time this year following a recommendation by health experts, senior government expert NK Arora said today that there are no plans to alter the 84-day dose gap for Covishield.
The Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine (IAPSM) has advised that the disparity be narrowed. However, Dr. Arora, chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), has ruled out any changes for the time being.
“NTAGI reviews vaccine effectiveness data on a regular basis. Currently there is no proposal for change in the dose interval for Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V,” Dr Arora said.
When national vaccinations began in January, the dose gap for Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, the Indian equivalent of the Oxford-AstraZeneca injection, was four to six weeks. Later, the period was extended to six to eight weeks.
The government amended the dose gap to 12 to 16 weeks in May, citing “real-life evidence from the United Kingdom.” The gap between Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and the competition remained unchanged.
The choice had sparked controversy, with many blaming it on a severe vaccination shortfall during the second wave of Covid. When certain members of the NTAGI claimed that the decision was not unanimous and that they were opposed to doubling the dosing interval, a debate erupted.
The government, on the other hand, dismissed the charge. According to Dr. Arora, the decision was based on studies showing that the longer the gap, the more antibodies there are and hence the higher the protection from Covid.
Dr. Arora had previously stated that the difference might be narrowed for persons aged 45 and up.
According to numerous studies conducted throughout the world, the potency of the initial shot of Covishield may not be as high as originally thought. This would necessitate a second shot for better protection sooner rather than later.
As India’s gap increased, countries like the United Kingdom narrowed it to combat the spread of Delta, the Covid variation initially discovered in India.