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Rising Covishield gap: State, Center on the same page | Kolkata News

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Kolkata: After an advice from the Union Ministry of Health on Monday recommended widening the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine in four to eight weeks from the current four to six weeks, the Bengal government instructed hospitals here to follow the norm and to postpone the second dose period. At a meeting in Swasthya Bhavan on Monday, the state health department told hospitals to actively promote vaccination to involve as many recipients as possible and follow the Centers’ recommendations.
Stating that they would follow the instructions, the hospitals noted that widening the gap between the two doses would hopefully make the vaccine against Covid even more effective and set dates would steer the process further.
The consultation of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Family Welfare stated that in view of the emerging scientific evidence, the interval between two doses of Covishield has been reviewed by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization and it is recommended to provide a second dose of Covishield at 4-8 week interval instead of the previously practiced interval of 4-6 weeks. She went on to add that given the existing scientific evidence, protection seems to increase if the second dose of Covidshield is administered between 6-8 weeks, but no later than the prescribed period of 8 weeks.
We will soon start promoting vaccination. We have increased the numbers significantly over the last two weeks and continue to do so. While the government has promised to provide more vials, increasing the number of recipients should not be a problem, said AMRI Hospital CEO Rupak Barua. We will start immediately applying the advice for the second dose. Our recipients will be advised and told that the second dose will be most effective between six and eight weeks, said RN Tagore International Institute of Heart Heart (RTIICS) R head Venkatesh. The experts thought that the instruction should be followed as it was supported by evidence and scientific research. There are studies in the UK that have shown that Covishield was most effective if the second dose was taken between six and eight weeks. The idea is for the vaccine to become effective and so, this should be followed, said internal medicine counselor at the Belle Vue Clinic Rahul Jain.
A majority of beneficiaries anyway have delayed their second stroke in five to six weeks, some doctors said. Informed beneficiaries read about maximum efficacy between six and eight weeks and delayed the second stroke after four weeks. It also helps hospitals treat the crowd. But it could be a problem if everyone wants the second dose between four and six weeks, said a private hospital doctor.
While increased vaccination would help, it would not provide unmistakable protection from Covid as long as they were not inoculated enough, said CMRI Pulmonology Director Raja Dhar. Only about 30 lakhs have been vaccinated in Bengal, which has a population of 10 crore. It’s a small number and we need to adhere to all precautions, especially as the numbers are growing, Dhar said.

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