The Union Cabinet on Tuesday announced that all those above 45 years of age can get vaccinated from April 1. The decision was announced by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar at a Cabinet briefing on Tuesday. The decision was taken after a consultation with the COVID-19 task force and scientists Currently, those above 60 years of age and those above 45 years who have comorbidities are getting vaccinated across the country and now it has been expanded to include those above 45 years who do not have any comorbidities as well. The Union Minister urged everyone eligible to get themselves vaccinated.
The Minister also said that after consultations with experts, the interval between the first and the second dose of Serum Institute of India's Covishield will be 4-8 weeks as compared to the earlier time gap of four weeks.
There is no scarcity of vaccines, Prakash Javadekar added, asking people to register themselves for vaccination. On Monday evening, according to the data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country had crossed 4.72 crore.
The Union government on Monday had written to states and Union Territories directing them to increase the interval between two doses of Covishield vaccine to four to eight weeks. This comes after the recommendations by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) during its 20th meeting.
“Keeping the existing scientific evidence in view, it appears that protection is enhanced if the second dose of COVISHIELD is administered between six to eight weeks, but not later than stipulated period of 8 weeks,” the Health Ministry said. The Union Health Secretary has also urged the states and UTs to instruct the concerned officials accordingly to undertake necessary steps to inform programme managers, vaccinators and recipients of Covishield vaccine of the revised dosing interval and ensure adherence of the revised dosing interval.