Mixing vaccines, single-dose of Covishield: Centre has multiple plans

Perhaps to speed up the country’s inoculation drive against COVID, the government is reportedly conducting tests on mixing vaccines, besides exploring the effectiveness of a single Covishield shot.

“It (mixing of vaccines) is plausible. But there need to be more studies. It can’t be said definitively that mixing of doses can be practised. There is no robust scientific evidence. Only time will tell whether it will be done in future or not. It will depend on international studies, World Health Organization findings, etc. Our experts are also continuously studying,” Niti Aayog (health) member VK Paul said on May 22.

Also read: Mixing COVID vaccines can give you mild side effects, but not harmful: Study

“One shot of one type produces antibodies and the second shot from another will increase that. Scientifically, there is no problem,” he added.

The Centre, according to an NDTV report said, will assess vaccine data recorded on a new app, which will make it easier to report adverse events after vaccination. The platform, to be linked to CoWin, will allow people to flag their worries after a shot, after which a district officer will follow up on the cases.

Recently, after 20 people were accidentally injected with two different vaccines, the Centre had ruled out any cause for concern.

Also read: What happens if you mix two different vaccines? Govt’s top adviser speaks

The government will also review the impact of its decision to extend the gap between Covishield doses, which will also help decide on a possible single-dose plan for the vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India. Single-dose vaccination will help the Centre cover a much wider base of the population, as per reports.

They also point out that Oxford-Astrazeneca’s vaccine, which is Covishield in India, started out as a single-dose option before studies recommended two shots. There is a view that a single shot is enough to deal with the virus.

Vaccines like Johnson & Johnson and Sputnik Light, based on a similar principle as Astrazeneca, are single doses, reports said. Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin are the two main jabs used in the nationwide vaccination drive that started in January. Russia’s Sputnik V is the third vaccine to be cleared for use.

The government is trying to procure 30-32 crore vaccine doses a month to tide over the current shortage. These include 25 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin.

The government is also banking on more vaccines in the coming months, including Biological E’s Johnson & Johnson, Serum’s Novovax, Genova mRNA and Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine besides Sputnik

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