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Takes second Covishield kick after 12-16 weeks: Govt

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Indians taking the first dose of Covishield should wait between 12-16 weeks before taking the second stroke, the Union government said Thursday, approving a new set of recommendations from a group of technical experts that will help deliver first doses for more people and is consistent with studies suggesting that a longer interval may provide better efficacy.

Doubling the gap between doses from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 only applies to the Covishield dose, with the suggested interval for Covax remaining at 4-6 weeks. At least 90% of the doses administered in India are Covishield, the India-made version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca University vaccine, according to data from the Co-WIN panel on Thursday.

Based on available real-life evidence, particularly from the UK, the Covid-19 Working Group agreed to increase the dosing interval to 12-16 weeks between two doses of the Covishield vaccine. No change in the Covaxin vaccine dose range was recommended, a government statement said.

The statement added that the suggestion was accepted by the National Group of Experts on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC), chaired by Niti Aayog member VK Paul, at its meeting on 12 May, and most recently by the Union Ministry of Health.

The previous recommendation for a gap of 4-6 weeks was based on data available at the time. As more data became available, it was seen that increasing the duration helps, Paul said in the governments’ press release on the Covid-10 situation on Thursday.

Now, this decision is based on periodic reviews and on what we have seen as real life experience in the UK, where millions of people have taken the dose. The data was closely analyzed and WHO experts were consulted, so we can be sure of the science surrounding this decision, he added.

On March 23, the government extended the second dose interval to 6-8 weeks from week 4-6 originally announced for Covishield.

According to officials aware of the issue, who asked not to be mentioned, government expert committees are also discussing questions about whether pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers can be given the coronavirus vaccine, and whether people recovering from an infection should wait. at least six months before taking a dose.

Currently, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers are not included in the list of people qualified for vaccines in India.

Some countries have also discussed these questions and some have clear policies. The UK Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI) has recommended that a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine be given up to 12 weeks after the first. The European Medicines Agency also recommends a gap of 12 weeks at most, although Spain expanded it to 16 weeks in late April.

However, most groups of Western experts do not suggest a special embargo when people recovering from Covid should receive a vaccine, as long as they no longer have symptoms of the disease or if they have been given any special treatment during their illness. .

If you have been treated for Covid-19 with monoclonal antibodies or recovery plasma, you should wait 90 days before receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are not sure what treatments you have received or if you have more questions about getting a Covid-19 vaccine, says the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in its explanation of the Covid-19 vaccine .

Paul denied when asked by reporters if the decision was made to help mainly facilitate supply as many states are registering a vaccine for vaccines, especially after adults under the age of 45 became legal by May 1st.

According to Paul, India has an estimated production capacity for approved vaccines at 73 million per month, which on average is sufficient for about 2.5 million vaccines per day – lower than the peak level of 4.2 million initially recorded by the country April Some states have stopped vaccinations and closed centers due to lack of doses.

Please have faith in our scientific processes. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) is a group of individuals with high integrity. And this body not only looks at Covid-19 vaccinations, but also reviews the entire immunization process in the country. He has been active since long ago and operates purely on the basis of scientific evidence before him, he added.

Dr Balram Bhargava, director general, Indian Medical Research Council (ICMR) and secretary, health research department, also said that among the key questions experts were dealing with in this pandemic was when to give the second dose of the vaccine .

There has been a lot of scientific discussion on this issue, and most of it is still in progress. The Covid-19 working group has already met four times to discuss this and other issues. The meetings also featured Covishield developers from Oxford and they presented the latest data, he said.

Recommendations for a longer dosing gap come from a phase 3 trial set in February after Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine studies conducted in Brazil, South Africa and the UK found that efficacy increased to 82.4% when the second shot was given at 12 weeks or more Between 6-8 weeks after you were given the second dose, the efficacy was found to be 59.9%.

It is a good move to widen the gap as there is qualitative data from the UK to suggest that the neutralizing ability of the antibodies increased significantly when the gap widened. The second dose works as a booster blow. Giving a time gap, however, is not appropriate for a vaccine that is a completely inactivated virion vaccine, said Dr. NK Mehra, an immunology and immunogenetics expert who was once an senior faculty and dean at the Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhis All India.

Dr Gagandeep Kang, one of the countries’ leading vaccinologists, said the Canada committee also decided for 4 months as the evidence showed consistently good / improved response after 12 weeks.

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