The CoWIN platform has been reconfigured to provide online appointments for the second dose of Covishield after 84 days.
The change in the online appointment app was done after the Union government extended the gap between two doses of the vaccine to 12-16 weeks.
“It is clarified that the requisite changes have now been done in the CoWIN digital portal. As a result, further online or on-site appointments will not be possible if the period after 1st dose date for a beneficiary is less than 84 days,” the Union health ministry said in a statement issued on Sunday.
Additionally, already booked online appointments for 2nd dose of Covishield will remain valid and are not being cancelled by COWIN. Further, the beneficiaries are advised to reschedule their appointments for a later date beyond the 84th day from the date of 1st dose vaccination.
The Union Government has reiterated to the States and UTs that the online appointments booked for 2nd dose of COVISHELD prior to this change of the interval between the two doses of Covishield, must be honoured.
The Union Health Ministry has advised the Sates/UTs that the field staff may be instructed that, if such beneficiaries do come for vaccination, the second Covishield dose must be administered and they must not be turned away. They have also been advised to undertake awareness activities to inform the beneficiaries about this change.
The COVID Working Group chaired by Dr N K Arora had recommended extension of the gap between the first and second doses of COVISHIELD vaccine to 12-16 weeks. The earlier gap recommended between the two doses of COVISHIELD vaccine is 6-8 weeks.
Based on the available real-life evidences, particularly from UK, the COVID-19 Working Group recommended increasing the dosing interval to 12-16 weeks between two doses of COVISHIELD vaccine. No change in interval of COVAXIN vaccine doses was recommended.
The COVID Working Group comprises of the following members:
- Dr N K Arora- Director, INCLEN Trust
- Dr Rakesh Agarwal, Director and dean, JIPMER, Puducherry
- Dr Gagandeep Kang, professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore
- Dr J P Mulliyal, Retd professor, Christian Medical College, Vellore
- Dr Naveen Khanna, Group Leader, International Centre For Genetic Engineering And Biotechnology (ICGEB), JNU, New Delhi
- Dr Amulya Panda, Director, National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi
- Dr V G Somani, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), Govt of India
The recommendation of the COVID Working Group was accepted by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC), headed by Dr V K Paul, Member (Health) Niti Aayog in its meeting on 12th May 2021.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare accepted this recommendation of the COVID Working Group for extension of the gap between the first and second doses of COVISHIELD vaccine to 12 -16 weeks.
Two Covid-19 vaccines that are currently being used under the nationwide Covid-19 immunisation programme are SII’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. Use of Russian vaccine Sputnik will be scaled up beginning early next month
However, the revised interval is only for the Covishield vaccine, and there is no change for the Covaxin vaccine timeline that continues to be between 4 and 6 weeks.
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