The new gap for Covishield is based on recommendations of COVID Working Group. The revised time interval between two doses is applicable only to Covishield and not to Covaxin vaccine
The COVID Working Group chaired by Dr N K Arora has recommended extension of the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks. The present gap between the two doses of Covishield vaccine is 6-8 weeks, according to PIB.
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 interval of Covaxin vaccine doses was recommended, it added.
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, 2021, the PIB release stated.
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.
The COVID Working Group comprises of the following members:
Dr N K Arora- Director, INCLEN Trust
Dr Rakesh Agarwal, Director and dean, GIPMER, 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
Dr V G Somani, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Govt of India
Meanwhile, National Health Mission secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the chief secretaries of the states and UTs informing about the new development. He urged them to instruct the concerned officials 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 revised dosing interval. Requisite changes are being carried out in the Co-WIN platform and would be separately communicated to the states/UTS.
“You are also requested to note that this decision of revised time interval between two doses is applicable only to Covishield and not to Covaxin vaccine,” the letter added.
The letter also mentioned that COVID-19 vaccination drive in India has completed 117 days during which 17.7 crore beneficiaries have been vaccinated, of which 3.9 crore beneficiaries have completed the two doses schedule of vaccination as per the recommended interval of 4 weeks for Covaxin and 6-8 weeks for Covishield. This has been possible due to the proactive involvement of all states and UTS, it added.