The panel has also recommended increasing the gap between two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks from the current 4-8 weeks.

 A medic administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine to a young beneficiary on her arm at a vaccination center for Covid-19
news COVID-19 Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 11:32

The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation in India (NTAGI) has recommended those who test positive for the novel coronavirus to defer their vaccination by six months after they recover, PTI reported on Thursday morning. The panel has also recommended that pregnant women be offered the choice to take any COVID-19 vaccine and that lactating women be made eligible for the vaccine dose any time after delivery. The recommendations of the NTAGI will be sent to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19.

Earlier, in an advisory dated January 14, 2021, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had advised persons having active symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 to defer vaccination by 4-8 weeks. The ministry had then said this applies to those who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma therapy as well.

Also read: Increase gap between 2 Covishield doses to 12-16 weeks, govt panel recommends

Experts had earlier told TNM that if a person tested positive for the novel coronavirus in between doses, the recovered person does not need to repeat the first dose of the vaccine again, but can take the second dose. The timing of the second dose would depend on certain indicators, like the antibody levels in the person’s body, and a doctor should be consulted for this.

Globally, the advice on when a COVID-19 affected person should get their first dose of vaccine differs. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), America's health protection agency, "If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine."

Jennifer T. Grier, Clinical Assistant Professor of Immunology,, University of South Carolina, said in her article in The Conversaton in March this year that not everyone will develop immunity after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. "As many as 9% of infected people do not have detectable antibodies, and up to 7% of people do not have T cells that recognise the virus 30 days after infection."

The NTAGI on Thursday also recommended increasing the gap between two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks from the existing four to eight weeks. The panel has not recommended a change for Covaxin dosage interval, PTI reported quoting sources. In March, the Union government had written to states and Union Territories to increase the interval between two doses of Covishield vaccine to four to eight weeks. At the time, the health ministry had said that it was found that protection is enhanced if the second dose of Covishield is administered between six to eight weeks.

Also read: Explained: What happens if you miss second dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Watch: A TNM ground report on the situation in Chennai hospitals