New Delhi: The Centre on Monday revised the time window within which the 2nd dose of Covishield vaccine can be taken, asking all states and Union Territories to administer it between 4-8 weeks, instead of 4 to 6 weeks. The belated realisation is that protection is enhanced if the second dose of Covishield is administered between 6 to 8 weeks, but not later than stipulated period of eight weeks, a ministry official said.
The revised interval, however, applies only to Serum Institute of India's Covishield - the vaccine developed by Oxford AstraZeneca -- and not to Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, the Centre said in its letter. The instruction has gone out in the middle of round two of nationwide vaccinations, in which people above 60 and those over 45 with other illnesses are being inoculated.
However, the decision to revisit the dosage window on the 66h day and in the second phase of vaccination, when India has reached an immunisation target of 4.72 crore, has the beneficiaries in a tizzy. At a time when India is struggling with a fresh wave of the pandemic, those who have taken two doses are not sure if they have got fullest possible immunity and are dogged by the fear that they continue to be vulnerable to the deadly virus. Sujata Madhok, a senior Delhi-based journalist said that her sister and brother-in-law, both senior citizens, took the first COVISHIELD dose in mid-February and the subsequent dose as well.
“Had the government revisited this prescription earlier, more people who were waiting to get the vaccine would gave got vaccinated at least once instead of those who got the subsequent dose. It is unfortunate that this recommendation has come now. It is definitely a cause of concern. Had this come earlier, people who have taken both doses would have been assured of better immunity.” The apprehension of people is justified.