New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the continuous hike in coronavirus cases across the country, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) on Thursday recommended increasing the gap between two doses of Covishield COVID-19 vaccine to 12 to 16 weeks.

However, the government panel did not recommend any change in dosage interval for Covaxin. Currently, the interval between two doses of Covishield is four to eight weeks.

"Based on the available real life evidence particularly from the UK, the COVID-19 working group agreed for increasing the dosing interval to 12-16 weeks between two doses of Covishield vaccine. No change in interval of Covaxin vaccine doses was recommended," news agency PTI quoted government sources as saying.

Several states and UTs including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana have decided to opt for global tenders for procurement of anti-coronavirus shots with the domestic supply falling short to meet the rising demand.

The NTAGI also suggested that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are waiting to get inoculated should defer vaccination for six months after recovery. It also said that pregnant women could choose their vaccine while lactating women would be eligible any time after delivery.

An educational tool comprising information on risk of COVID 19 infection during pregnancy, benefits associated with the vaccination and rare complications associated with vaccines like thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (with Covishield) may be developed.

The recommendations of the NTAGI will be sent to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC). The panel also rejected the proposal for routinely screening all vaccine recipients with rapid antigen testing prior to COVID vaccination.

In case of individuals who have received the first dose and before completion of the dosing schedule if they test positive for COVID-19, they should wait for 4-8 weeks after clinical recovery from the illness.

Also, COVID-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma may defer COVID-19 vaccination for three months from the day of discharge from hospital, the recommendations stated.

Individuals having any other serious illness requiring hospitalisation or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the next COVID vaccine, it added.

(With inputs from PTI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma