Indians, who are paying for the Covishield vaccine, may soon be given a choice of receiving their second dose four weeks after the first instead of waiting for 12 to 14 weeks, said media reports quoting sources.
A Reuters report stated that private hospitals and clinics may reduce the gap between the two doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine administered privately because of a Kerala high court order.
The Kerala high court had earlier this month ordered that the health ministry’s vaccine-booking platform should be changed accordingly to offer people, especially those who are paying for the inoculation to have this choice to narrow the gap between the two doses. This change in the time gap is meant to be particularly useful for people travelling abroad.
One of the sources told Reuters that this change will have to be introduced because of the high court judgement. However, the gap between the COVID-19 vaccine doses for the government’s programme will continue to be 12 weeks. The World Health Organization too recommends an interval of eight to 12 weeks.
India increased the gap between the doses in May to ensure more people will get at least one dose of the jab. At that time, supplies were scarce and Indians were running from pillar to post to get even their first dose of the COVID inoculation.
On its part, AstraZeneca however recommends that the second dose of its COVID-19 vaccine should be taken after a four week interval after the first shot. But the British-Swedish multination has pointed out on its website that they have seen a “trend” of the vaccine being more efficacious if it is administered after the four week gap.
It is unclear when the changes will be implemented, the Reuters report stated.
India’s vaccine output has shot up to 300 million doses a month, which has led the government to announce recently that it will be resuming its exports and donations of surplus vaccines from October. According to the health ministry, more than half of India’s adult population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 16 per cent have got both.