Centre clarifies doubling dose gap in coronavirus vaccine

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Vaccine Gap (Image: Pixabay)
Vaccine Gap (Image: Pixabay)

New Delhi : After some scientists claimed that they were not in favor of doubling the coronavirus dose gap, the Centre on Wednesday explained that the decision was "transparent" and "based on scientific data".

"The decision to increase the gap between administering two doses of Covishield has been taken in a transparent manner based on scientific data. India has a robust mechanism to evaluate data. It is unfortunate that such an important issue is being politicised!" Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan tweeted.

He also attached a statement of Dr NK Arora, the chief of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), on the subject.

"This was the basis on which they overcame the outbreak due to the 'alpha' variant... because the interval they kept was 12 weeks. We also thought that this is a good idea... scientific reasons to show that when interval is increased adenovector vaccines give better response," he was quoted.

"The COVID Working Group took that decision with no dissenting voice.... issue was then discussed threadbare at an NTAGI meeting, again with no dissenting notes. The recommendation was that the vaccine interval has to be 12 - 16 weeks," he was further quoted.

However, a news report by Reuters quotes three scientists who claim that they only discussed increasing the interval to 8-12 weeks.

"Eight to 12 weeks is something we all accepted, 12 to 16 weeks is something the government has come out with," MD Gupte (the former Director of the government-run National Institute of Epidemiology) said, adding, "This may be alright, may not be. We have no information."

The whole thing became controversial as the government increased time gap for the vaccine during reports of shortage of it.