India has revised the guidelines on gap between second dose of covid-19 vaccine after recovery from the illness. The government on Wednesday said the second jab be deferred by three months after clinical recovery from Covid-19. While experts have said the booster shot can be effective till six months, there has been apprehension among the people over the extended gap between two shots.
However, scientist Andrew Pollard who co-developed the AstraZeneca vaccine with Sarah Gilbert at Oxford University says a three month gap between two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, also known as covishield which is one of the two vaccines available in India, is effective.
“We have very good data showing strong protection for the first three months between the two doses. A three-month interval produces very good protection. This gets even better with a longer interval from three to four months,” he Pollard said in an interview with Times of India.
Pollard added that a longer time gap gets a stronger immune response after the second dose.
He said one of the reasons behind UK’s decision to increase the gap between two doses was also the challenge posed by B.1.617 variant as the government wants to ‘improve immunity and curb transmission’. “But to get the maximum immune response, it's worth waiting longer,” he said.
The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said vaccination can now be deferred by three months after clinical recovery from Covid-19. Accepting recommendations from the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), the government further said if an individual is infected with coronavirus after the first dose, the second dose should be also deferred by three months after recovering from the infection.
On Tuesday, the government also issued guidelines saying people who have recovered from Covid-19 can defer their first dose of vaccination by nine months.