Union Health Ministry on Thursday announced to increase the gap between the first and second dose of Serum Institute of India’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield from six-eight to 12-16 weeks.
“The COVID Working Group chaired by Dr N K Arora has recommended the extension of the gap between the first and second doses of the Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks. The present gap between the two doses of Covishield vaccine is 6-8 weeks,” Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement.
But on March 22 when the government increased the interval to four to eight weeks, from the existing four to six weeks, it had maintained that the protection is enhanced if the second dose of Covishield is administered between six-eight weeks, but not later than the stipulated period of eight weeks.
The Ministry on Thursday said the Working Group’s decision to agree for increasing the dosing interval was based on the available real-life evidence, particularly from the UK.
The National Expert Group (NEGVAC), headed by Dr V K Paul, Member (Health) Niti Aayog accepted the recommendations on May 12 after which the Health Ministry also gave its a nod to the extension of dosage interval.