Gurugram (Haryana) [India], May 13 (ANI): Chairman of Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine Dr Arvinder Singh Soin on Thursday supported the Union Health Ministry's decision to accept the recommendation of the COVID working group to extend the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks.
Dr Soin said the basic logic is that those who have had one vaccine dose or a previous infection are better protected than those who have had neither of these.
"Both the recommendations of COVID working group-- to extend the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks and asking people who have tested positive not to take vaccine for six months-- are steps in the right direction at least from the public health point of view," Soin said.
"The basic logic is you are better protected if you had either a previous infection or one dose compared to those who have neither," Dr Soin said.
He further said that these guidelines are meant to ensure that with our limited vaccine stock the largest possible proportion of the vulnerable population is protected as soon as possible.
"However, the scientific way of doing this would be to hold off vaccine for 6 months in those who have good antibody levels 2-3 months after testing positive," he added.
The Union Health Minister 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.
No such changes were recommended for the interval of COVAXIN vaccine doses.
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 was started on May 1 for the beneficiaries belonging to the age group 18-44. (ANI)