As India's Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases spike and vaccination drags on, Centre on Monday has revised the interval between the two doses of Serum Institute of India (SII)'s vaccine - COVISHIELD. The interval between the doses has been increased to 4-8 weeks instead of 4-6 weeks, as decided by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization based on 'emerging scientific evidence. Out of India's 4,57,11,030 doses administered, COVISHIELD constitutes 4,18,72,813 doses, while COVAXIn attributes to 38,38,216 doses.
"In view of emerging scientific evidence, interval between two doses of a specific COVID-19 vaccine i.e. COVISHIELD, has been revisited by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization& subsequently by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19. Recommendation has been revised to provide 2nd dose of COVISHIELD at 4-8 weeks’ interval after 1st dose, instead of earlier practiced interval of 4-6 weeks. This decision of revised time interval b/w two doses is applicable only to COVISHIELD ¬ to COVAXIN vaccine," read the statement released by Centre.
India began its COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16, aiming to vaccinate 3 crore health care workers. Its second phase of vaccination kicked off on March 1, with PM Modi taking the first shot. The second phase is dedicated to those above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with co-morbidities - registered on CO-WIN website and walk-ins at some hospitals. While pricing for a COVID-19 vaccine dose has been capped at Rs 250 at private hospitals, doses are available free of cost at government centers with the Centre bearing the cost of the inoculation. Recently, several states like Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka have sought the Centre's nod to rope in private hospitals and to begin vaccinating adults above 18.
On January 3, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani announced that the vaccines of Serum Institue of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) have been granted permission for restricted use in an emergency situation. Several other vaccine candidates like Sputnik-V and Zydus-Cadilla's vaccine too are eyeing the emergency nod. As of date, India has administered 4,57,11,030 doses - of which 3,82,64,682 have received the first dose and 74,46,348 have received the second dose.