No mixing of COVID-19 vaccines yet; harmful reaction cannot be ruled out: Centre

The Centre also rubbished reports of single-dose Covishield.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, June 01, 2021, 05:17 PM IST
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A health worker prepares a dose of the Covishield vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus during a vaccination drive at a civil hospital in Jind, in the northern state of Haryana on June 1, 2021. | (Photo by AFP)

The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday clarified that there will be no mixing of COVID-19 vaccines in India until enough scientific evidence on its effectiveness is gathered. "Mixing of vaccine is not the protocol yet, same vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) to be administered for both doses. Stick to the SOP," said the Ministry.

The Union Health Ministry added that international research is underway on the mixing of vaccines and the possibility of a positive effect is plausible, however, a harmful reaction cannot be ruled out either. "It is an unresolved scientific question, science will settle it," said the Ministry.

Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry also 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 tests on mixing vaccines and the effectiveness of a single-dose of Covishield will begin soon in the government's new strategy.

Sources told NDTV that a study on mixing two different vaccines will start in a month and is likely be completed in two to two and a half months. Moreover, sources also told NDTV that a single-dose vaccination will help the government cover a much wider base of the population. The sources pointed out that Oxford-Astrazeneca's vaccine (Covishield) started out as a single-dose option before effectiveness studies recommended two shots.

It was reported that a government panel has been constituted to conduct a mix-and-match trial of vaccines, including study whether a single-dose Covishield can provide enough immunity against COVID-19.

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