Pregnant women may be given choice to take any Covid-19 vaccine: Govt panel
The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has recommended increasing the gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks, sources said on Thursday.
It has also suggested that pregnant women may be offered the choice to take any COVID-19 vaccine and that lactating women can be inoculated any time after delivery.
The NTAGI has also stated that those having laboratory test proven SARS-CoV-2 illness should defer COVID-19 vaccination for six months after recovery, the sources said.
Currently, the interval between two doses of Covishield is four to eight weeks.
No change in dosage interval for Covaxin has been suggested by the panel.
The recommendations of the NTAGI will be sent to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Adminstration for COVID-19.
India's coronavirus death toll crossed 250,000 on Wednesday in the deadliest 24 hours since the pandemic began, as the disease rampaged through the countryside, leaving families to weep over the dead in rural hospitals or camp in wards to tend the sick.
The second wave erupted in February, inundating hospitals and medical staff, as well as crematoriums and mortuaries.
Experts still cannot say for sure when numbers will peak and concern is growing about the transmissibility of the variant that is driving infections in India and spreading worldwide.
Indian state leaders clamoured for vaccines to stop the second wave and the devastation it has wrought, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop exporting doses, ramp up production and help them procure urgent supplies from overseas.
"People will die in the same way in the third and fourth waves as they have this time" without more vaccines, Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters.
Deaths grew by a record 4,205 while infections rose by 348,421 in the 24 hours to Wednesday, taking the tally past 23 million, health ministry data showed. Experts believe the actual numbers could be five to 10 times higher.
(With agency inputs)This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.