Covishield dose gap cut for special cases
- However, the ministry specified that the facility will be available for travel up to August 31 this year.
The Union health ministry on Monday allowed the gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine to be reduced from 84 days to 28 days for those who need to travel abroad for work, study, or to represent India at the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for July.
Through a press statement, the ministry said the matter was discussed by the Empowered Group 5 (one of the six groups formed last year to monitor the Covid response) and “appropriate recommendations” were received for allowing the administration of the second dose of Covishield to those who need to travel abroad for the specified reasons, but whose planned travel dates are earlier than the mandatory 84-day interval between the two doses.
This special concession will be available to “students who have to undertake foreign travel for the purposes of education; persons who have to take up jobs in foreign countries; athletes, sportspersons and accompanying staff of Indian contingent attending the International Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo...,” the statement said.
However, the ministry specified that the facility will be available for travel up to August 31 this year.
Serum Institute of India locally manufactures the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine under the brand name Covishield. It is one of the two vaccines currently being provided under the national Covid-19 immunisation programme and has been granted emergency use listing by the World Health Organisation.
According to current guidelines, based on the recommendations by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19, the second dose of Covishield has to be administered at an interval of 12-16 weeks (or 84 days) from the first.
All states have been directed to designate a competent authority in each district to allow the expedited second dose. They will have to ensure that there is a minimum gap of 28 days between the two doses and the purpose of travel is genuine. Documents pertaining to admission offers from universities abroad, job offer letters, or nomination papers to participate in the Olympics will be verified.
The health ministry’s standard operating procedures have advised the use of the passport as one of the identification documents for vaccination. The passport number will be printed on the vaccination certificate. But it doesn’t matter if any other identity paper was used to obtain the first dose.
All technical protocols, including adverse events following immunisation monitoring, will have to be strictly followed.
“The Co-WIN system will soon provide the facility for administration of 2nd dose in such exceptional cases…,” the health ministry statement read.