New Delhi [India], May 13 (ANI): The Union Health Ministry on Thursday accepted the recommendation of the COVID working group to extend the gap between the first and second doses of COVISHIELD vaccine to 12-16 weeks. The present gap between the two doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine is 6-8 weeks.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan took to Twitter regarding the decision made by the ministry.
"Gap between 2 doses of #CovishieldVaccine has been increased to 12-16 weeks from 6-8 weeks currently. Decision has been taken based on recommendations given by COVID working group after analysing emerging evidence," Harsh Vardhan tweeted.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, based on the available real-life evidence, particularly from the United Kingdom, the COVID-19 Working Group agreed for increasing the dosing interval to 12-16 weeks between two doses of COVISHIELD vaccine.
No such changes were recommended for the interval of COVAXIN vaccine doses.
"The recommendation of the COVID Working Group was accepted by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC), headed by Dr VK Paul, Member (Health) Niti Aayog in its meeting on May 12," the Ministry said.
"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," it said.
As many as 3,62,727 new COVID-19 cases, 3,52,181 discharges and 4,120 deaths were reported in India in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry informed on Thursday.
The total positive cases in the country so far stand at 2,37,03,665. This includes 1,97,34,823 recoveries and 2,58,317 reported deaths. There are currently 37,10,525 active cases in the country.
A total of 17,72,14,256 doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered so far.
India started the world's largest vaccination drive on January 16 this year in a phased manner with healthcare workers (HCWs) getting inoculated first. The vaccination of frontline workers (FLWs) started on February 2.
The next phase of Covid-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions. India launched vaccination for all people aged more than 45 from April 1.
Phase 3 of the vaccination drive commenced on May 1 for the beneficiaries belonging to the age group 18-44. (ANI)