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New Delhi: Dr NK Arora, head of the government’s National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NTAGI) working group on COVID-19, has said that India will review the dose gaps of the Kovidshield vaccine and take appropriate steps based on the new data emerging.
Dr. NK Arora said that the decision to increase the interval between two doses of Kovishield from four-six weeks to 12-16 weeks was taken on scientific grounds and there were no differences among the NTAGI members regarding this. -19 and the immunization status as ‘very variable’. He said in a statement that reports coming out about the effectiveness of partial immunization versus full immunization are also being considered.
‘Covid-19 and vaccination very variable’
Arora said, ‘Covid-19 and vaccination are very variable. If tomorrow’s vaccine manufacturing technology (vaccine platform) says that reducing the interval between vaccine doses is beneficial for people, even if it is only giving five or ten percent more benefit, then the committee will consider merit and understanding. Will take a decision on this on the basis of On the other hand, if it turns out that the present decision is correct, we will continue with it.
The UK’s Department of Health’s agency ‘Public Health England’ released data in the last week of April, saying that its effectiveness is between 65 and 88 percent when there is a 12-week interval between doses of the vaccine.
Arora said, ‘That is why Britain could come out of the outbreak of infection of the alpha form. There the gap between vaccine doses was kept at 12 weeks. We also thought this was a good idea and that there are basic scientific reasons that adenovector vaccines produce better results when the interval is extended. Therefore, it was decided on May 13 to increase the interval between doses of the vaccine from 12 to 16 weeks.
‘Growing gap also gives community resilience’
He added that increasing the gap also gives the community flexibility, as not everyone can come to get vaccinated exactly 12 weeks later. He said that the decision to extend the interval between two doses of Covishield vaccine has been taken in a transparent manner based on scientific evidence. He said that there was no difference of opinion among the members of the group in this regard. After this the matter was discussed in the meeting of NTAGI and during this also no differences emerged. It recommended that the interval between vaccine doses be 12-16 weeks, he said, adding that early studies on Covishield varied greatly. Some countries, such as the UK, have decided to introduce a second dose after a gap of 12 weeks since the vaccine was introduced in December 2020.
Arora said, “When we had to decide our interval between vaccines, we were not aware of this figure. We decided on a four-week interval based on our trial data, which showed a good immune response. Later we got additional scientific and laboratory data, based on which we decided to fix the interval of six weeks or so. We felt that we should increase the interval from four weeks to eight weeks, as studies have shown that vaccination at four-week intervals is about 57 percent effective, compared to about 60% at eight-week intervals. is influential.
Asked why the NTAGI had not already extended the interval between the two doses to 12 weeks, he said, “We decided that we should wait for the ground level data from the UK (the second largest user of the AstraZeneca vaccine). .’ Arora said there are also examples from Canada, Sri Lanka and some other countries where there is a gap of 12 to 16 weeks for the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to the statement.
The government said on May 13 that it has extended the interval between two doses of the Kovidshield vaccine from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks, accepting the recommendations of the COVID-19 Working Group. Arora explained how the evidence and reports emerging about the efficacy of partial versus complete immunization are being considered by NTAGI with regard to protection from single dose versus two doses.
“When we decided to increase the interval between doses, two to three days later, there were reports from the UK that a single dose of AstraZeneca vaccine provided only 33 per cent protection, while two doses gave up to 60 per cent protection,” he said. Discussions are going on since mid-May whether India should again reduce the interval between doses to four to eight weeks.
He referred to a study conducted at PGI Chandigarh comparing partial immunization with full immunization. This study clearly stated that the effectiveness of both partial immunization and full immunization is 75%. This study was done with respect to the alpha form which was found in Punjab, North India and Delhi. Arora said that the results of the study conducted at CMC Vellore are also similar, showing that partial vaccination of Covishield can give up to 61 percent protection and two doses give 65 percent protection.
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