New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Centre on Wednesday ruled out mixing COVID-19 shots for the third dose of vaccination or the precautionary dose announced for the elderly and frontline workers earlier. This means those who have received Covishield as their first and second dose will only be vaccinated with Covishield as their third dose and those who received Covaxin in their first two doses will only be vaccinated with Covaxin in the third dose.

"Precautionary COVID-19 vaccine dose will be the same vaccine as has been given previously. Those who've received Covaxin will receive Covaxin, those who've received primary two doses of Covishield will receive Covishield," said Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month had announced a 'precautionary' dose of vaccination for frontline and healthcare workers, and those over 60 years with co-morbidities, starting January 10. The third dose was announced amid sustained demand for vaccine boosters in the light of the Omicron threat.

As for the children, the Centre has started rolling out vaccines for the age groups between 15-18 years. Currently, kids are being vaccinated with only Covaxin as the option even though Zydus Cadila's ZyCoV-D has also got the drug regulator's approval. However, it is unclear when it will actually be available.

Centre's decision to not mix-and-match vaccines could be influenced by the World Health Organization's suggestion to give the same vaccine to people as they got before. WHO had advised countries to ensure people get the same drug they were initially given. It said mixing and matching of vaccines should only be done if there is a supply constraint.

Currently, only three vaccines- Covishield, Covaxin, and Sputnik V - are being used for the vaccination drive in India. However, there are as many as eight vaccines cleared for use in India, including US pharma giants' Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccine.

Posted By: Sugandha Jha