New Delhi: Rest assured, Covishield will not become a single-shot vaccine. There is no change in the vaccination protocol, and all beneficiaries will get two doses of their respective vaccine.
"I would like to clarify that there is absolutely no change in the two-dose regimen that is being followed in India for Covishield and Covaxin. The second dose of Covishield will be given after 12 weeks and the second dose of Covaxin will be given after 4-6 weeks after the first dose. We will continue this schedule and take our vaccination drive ahead. We should avoid any confusion over this," Niti Ayog’s Dr VK Paul said.
"There is no question" of mixing vaccines either,’’ Paul added, after some such suggestions were unofficially put out in the media as a trial balloon to gauge public sentiment.
"There have been suggestions that mixing of two vaccines can result in increasing a person's immunity. Scientifically, that is one possibility, but the possibility of severe adverse reactions cannot be ruled out either. There is ongoing research on this in several countries. This is a matter of research and scientific inquiry and there will be no change in the protocol that we are following as of now. There will be no mixing of vaccine doses," the official said.
The clarifications came after government sources, requesting not to be named, told reporters that tests on mixing of vaccines and the effectiveness of a single dose of Covishield will begin soon as a part of the government's new strategy. It was further said that a study on mixing two different vaccines will start in a month and will be completed in two to two and a half months.
The leaks divided opinion on public forums where many suggested the measures were aimed more at diminishing the vaccine shortage, which is widely blamed on the Centre’s move to not order enough doses well in time last year. The measures were also supposedly a part of the new vaccination strategy aimed at meeting the target of one crore inoculations daily by mid-July, according to government sources. Single-dose vaccination will help the government cover a much wider base of the population, it was further suggested.