The Centre on Wednesday (May 19), while accepting the recommendations of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19, said those who infected by COVID-19 can take their vaccines three months after the recovery.
Those infected after the first dose of the vaccine should also wait for three months to get their second dose. Patients who have been treated with plasma therapy should also defer their vaccination by three months, the Centre said.
The expert group had extended the gap between the two doses of Covishield vaccines to 12 to 16 weeks. It also recommended that those who are getting the infection now should defer their vaccination. The Centre cleared the Covishield proposal earlier. On May 19, the rest of the proposals were also accepted.
In its list of changes, the ministry said lactating women can be vaccinated, but the Centre will deliberate further regarding the vaccination of pregnant women.
Changes in rule
* Those who have lab test-proven SARS-2 COVID-19 illness can defer their vaccination by three months after recovery;
* SARS-2 COVID-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma can also defer their vaccination for three months after discharge from hospital;
The Centre’s decision to delay vaccinations for those who have had COVID is based on the premise that these individuals already have substantial antibody levels. Such a move ca free up lakhs of vaccine doses and improve coverage among those who need the most protection.
The WHO also recoomends that in a time of vaccine scarcity, previously infected people can wait six months after infection to be vaccinated.
Sources said the government was in the process setting up a tracking platform to determine vaccine performance, frequency of breakthrough events (infection despite vaccination) and their severity. Sources said such a platform would be ready in a few weeks.