News Brief

Govt's Expert Panel Mulls Increasing Gap Between Covishield's Two Doses To Boost Efficacy, Vaccination Drive

Swarajya Staff

May 07, 2021, 10:02 AM | Updated 10:01 AM IST

SII's Covishield vaccine (Pic Via Twitter)
SII's Covishield vaccine (Pic Via Twitter)

The gap between administering the two doses of the Covishield vaccine is expected to be increased to around 12 weeks as an expert panel of the government is likely to take a decision in this regard next week.

The expert panel is reviewing the evidence from the international studies that suggest that the efficacy of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which is being manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India and is branded as Covishiled, increases if the interval between the first and second dose is longer, top government sources were cited in a News18 report.

Earlier in April, the recommended interval between the two doses of Covishield was increased from four-six weeks to six-eight weeks.

A study published in the medical journal Lancet in March had said that Covishield shows an 81.3 per cent efficacy if doses are administered 12 weeks apart, compared to just 55.1 per cent when administering them less than six weeks apart.

Further, data from late-stage trials in United Kingdom and Brazil has shown that the vaccine is up to 90 per cent effective when given as a half dose followed by a full dose at least a month later. However, there is not enough data to support execution of the said findings.

It should be noted that the two doses of the vaccine are administered 12 to 16 weeks apart in UK and Canda.

Increasing the interval will not only help improve the efficacy of the vaccine but will also ease the skyrocketing demand for the jab in India as the vaccination has been thrown open to all above 18 years of age amid massive surge in fresh Covid infections.

As of Friday (7 May) morning, the cumulative vaccine coverage in India has crossed 16.49 crore with over 3.28 crore people fully vaccinated.

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