New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday asked state and union territory (UT) governments to increase the gap between two doses of Serum Institute's Covishield vaccine to four to eight weeks for "better results". The suggestion was made based on the recommendation of two expert panels.

"In view of emerging scientific evidence, interval between two doses of a specific COVID-19 vaccine i.e. Covishield, has been revisited by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization and subsequently by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19," it said in a statement.

"Recommendation has been revised to provide 2nd dose of Covishield at 4-8 weeks’ interval after 1st dose, instead of earlier practiced interval of 4-6 weeks. This decision of revised time interval between two doses is applicable only to Covishield and not to Covaxin vaccine," it added.

Covishield, along with Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, was approved for emergency use in India by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) in January this year, paving the way to launch world's largest inoculation drive against the highly contagious COVID-19 infection.

However, questions were raised over the use of Covishield after several European countries stopped the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over blood clot concerns. Following this, India said that it will review the post-vaccination side effects of 'Covishield'. Meanwhile, the company has defended its coronavirus vaccine saying that there was "no evidence of an increased risk" of blood clots.

"An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca," the company said in a statement.

"In fact, the observed number of these types of events are significantly lower in those vaccinated than would be expected among the general population," it added.

(With agency inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma