The Centre on Tuesday clarified that no changes have been made in the dosage regimen of coronavirus vaccine, Covishield, as far as the number of shots were concerned, ANI reported. Addressing a press conference, Niti Aayog (Health) member VK Paul also said that research on mixing of vaccines was still being done and directed health workers to keep following the existing standard operating procedure.
The clarification came after reports suggested on Monday that the Centre was mulling a single-dose Covishield regimen, and mixing of two different vaccines. “I would like to clarify that Covishield schedule in India is a two-dose one,” Paul said. “The second dose will be given 12 weeks after the first shot. There is absolutely no change.”
Speaking on the matter of mixing of vaccines, Paul said studies have so far been inconclusive.
“One scientific consideration is that a different vaccine affects adversely...especially in case of a vaccine developed on a separate platform,” he said. “But science also indicates that the immunity rises upon getting a different shot.”
Paul said that for now, the existing procedure on vaccination will be followed, which involves taking two shots of the same vaccine.
Last week, the Centre had said that a mix-up of coronavirus vaccine doses was unlikely to cause any significant adverse effects. The statement had come in response to reports that 20 villagers in Uttar Pradesh’s Siddharthnagar district were administered one dose of Covishield and a second dose of Covaxin during vaccinations.
A study published in medical journal The Lancet in May, showed that people who were given the AstraZeneca vaccine as the first dose and Pfizer’s as the second reported more short-lived side effects. The study, however, did not say if the mixing of vaccines could help protect against the infection.
Russia has approved a single-dose version of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, called Sputnik Light. The vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson is also a single-dose one. However, both the vaccines have not yet received approval for use in India.
‘One crore shots a day by mid-July’
Meanwhile, Indian Council of Medical Research chief Balram Bhargava said that the country will have enough supply of vaccines to inoculate one crore beneficiaries a day by mid-July or early-August, ANI reported.
Bharagva, who was also addressing the same press conference, claimed there was no shortage of vaccines and reiterated the Centre’s assertion that the entire population of the country will be inoculated by December this year.
The Centre has repeatedly made the claim of being able to vaccinate all citizens of India by the year-end, even as several states have been hit with shortages of shots.
As of Tuesday evening, more than 21.41 crore shots have been administered in India, while above 4.36 crore beneficiaries have received both the doses. Thus, only a little more than 3.1% of India’s 140 crore population is fully vaccinated so far.