The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday rubbished reports of single-dose Covishield and said the Serum Institute of India (SII)-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine will be administered in two doses only. The Ministry also said that there will be absolutely no change in the schedule of Covishield doses, and that the second dose will be given after 12 weeks as announced earlier.
"There is absolutely no change in the schedule of Covishield doses; it will be two doses only. After the first Covishield dose is administered, second dose will be given after 12 weeks. The same schedule is applicable to Covaxin," said the Union Health Ministry.
The Union Health Ministry's clarification comes after it was reported that a government panel is being constituted to study whether a single-dose Covishield can provide enough immunity against COVID-19.
Single-dose vaccination will help the government cover a much wider base of the population, sources told NDTV. The sources also pointed out that Oxford-Astrazeneca's vaccine (Covishield) started out as a single-dose option before effectiveness studies recommended two shots.
Reportedly, NK Arora, chairman of the COVID-19 working group under the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), said that there is a view that a single shot is enough protection from the virus. "We are evaluating how effective is a single shot of Covishield. All these vaccines, Johnson and Johnson, Sputnik Light, Covishield are based on the same principle," Dr Arora told NDTV.
Meanwhile, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) chief Balram Bhargava said that there is no shortage of vaccines in the country. He added, "By mid-July or August, we will have enough doses to vaccinate 1 crore people per day. We are confident of vaccinating the whole population by December."