COVID-19 infections are continuing to rise in India. As a result, the government has also announced the opening of vaccination for people above the age of 45 years from April 1. The second dose of Covishield must be taken 8 weeks after the first one. The vaccine is Serum Institute of India’s version of AZD1222 that was developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University. Here are 5 things you need to know about the time interval between first and second doses of the vaccine.
1. Optimal time interval between the two doses of vaccine
The time interval between two doses of the Covishield vaccine has been increased from four-six weeks to four-eight weeks. On the other hand, the second dose of Covaxin can be taken four- six weeks after the first dosage. The government has suggested that if people take the second dose of Covishield four-eight weeks after the first dose, protection from the novel coronavirus would be optimum. A delay beyond this time period can leave the beneficiary vulnerable.
2. Why has the time interval between the doses been increased?
On the recommendation of The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reached the conclusion that the protection provided by the vaccine gets enhanced if the second dose is taken 6-8 weeks after the first one.
3. What do studies say about the increase in time interval?
Oxford University and AstraZeneca suggested that according to the Interim results from phase 3 of the clinical trials conducted on 32,000 participants across the United States, Chile and Peru, the vaccine was 79 per cent effective against the symptoms of COVID-19, when the interval was four weeks. The efficacy in the cases of severe symptomatic COVID-19 cases was 100 per cent.
4. Eligibility for vaccination in the third phase
Everybody over the age of 45 years is eligible for vaccination in the third phase starting from April 1, 2021. The cut off date is Jan 1, 1977. One must be born before this date to be able to receive the vaccine. Earlier, there was a clause of comorbidities for inoculation. But now it has been removed.
5. What happens after one gets the second dose of Covishield?
Those who are getting inoculated must receive their vaccination certificate after the process of vaccination is completed. It can be collected both digitally and as a hard copy but the government has stated that procuring this certificate is mandatory.