Defer vaccination for 6 months after recovery from Covid-19, says govt panel
A government panel has recommended those testing positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to defer vaccination for six months after recovery. The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), an advisory group on the Covid-19 vaccines, also recommended that the gap between the two doses of Covishield, which was earlier six to eight weeks, be increased to 12 to 16 weeks. This announcement comes amid acute shortage of vaccines across the country.
NTAGI's recommendations will now be sent to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) for approval.
Earlier in March, the Centre had increased the gap between two doses of the Serum Institue of India (SII) vaccine from 28 days to six to eight weeks. No change has been suggested for interval between the two doses of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
Numerous states with high infection rates, including Maharashtra, have halted vaccination for their population in the age group of 18-44 and diverted all vaccines to cover people above the age to 45. “We’re suspending the vaccination drive for the age group of 18-44 for the time being owing to the shortage of the vaccines,” Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.
In another announcement, the panel said pregnant women may take any one of the two Covid-19 vaccines and lactating women are also eligible for jabs at any time after delivery.
According to a study recently published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, vaccines result in no injury to the placenta in pregnant women. Most patients participating in these studies received either Moderna or the Pfizer vaccines, both of which are not in use in India yet. However, the study will help ease the prevalent vaccine hesitancy, especially among pregnant women, researchers said, according to news agency PTI.
"From what we can tell, the Covid vaccine does not damage the placenta," said Jeffery Goldstein, assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the US.