The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has recommended increasing the gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks, sources said on Thursday. Currently, the interval between two doses of Covishield is four to eight weeks. No change in dosage interval for Covaxin has been suggested by the panel.
The recommendations of the NTAGI will be sent to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Adminstration for COVID-19. 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.
The panel on Thursday also suggested that pregnant women may be offered the choice to take any COVID-19 vaccine and that lactating women can be inoculated any time after delivery. The NTAGI has also recommended that those who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 should defer COVID-19 vaccination for six months after recovery, the sources said.
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 said this applies to those who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma therapy as well.
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 personâ€™s body, and a doctor should be consulted for this.
With PTI inputs