A recent order by the National Blood Transfusion Council has said that a person cannot donate blood for the 28 days after taking the last dose of COVID-19 vaccine. As approved in the 30th meeting of the governing body of the NBTC held on February 17, the deferral criterion for blood donation post COVID-19 vaccine was finalised as "28 days post-vaccination deferral after the last dose of COVID-19 vaccination irrespective of the type of the vaccine received."
The order implies that the donor has to wait for 28 days after taking second dose of the vaccine, which means that he or she cannot donate for 56 days after taking the first jab. The order was issued by NBTC director Dr Sunil Gupta on March 5.
According to the Union Health Ministry, two doses of the vaccine need to be taken by an individual 28 days apart to complete the immunisation schedule. Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the second dose, it has said.
On whether one should avoid alcohol after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the ministry, in a series of FAQs on March 2, clarified that "according to experts, there is no evidence of alcohol impairing the effectiveness of the vaccine".
Two vaccines – Oxford's Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute in the country, and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin – have been approved by the National Drug Regulator for restricted emergency use in India. The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated and vaccination of the frontline workers (FLWs) started from February 2.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.