Covisheild dose interval extension based on transparent scientific evidence: NTAGI chief
The statement came in the backdrop of reports claiming that the central government doubled the gap between Covishield shots without the agreement of the scientific group.
The interval between two dosages of the Covishield Covid-19 vaccine was extended based on scientific evidence and the decision was taken in a transparent manner, said NK Arora, the chairman of NTAGI, on Tuesday.
"We have a very open, transparent system where decisions are taken on a scientific basis. The Covid Working Group took that decision, with no dissenting voice. The issue was then discussed threadbare at the NTAGI meeting, with no dissenting notes," said Arora.
There was no dissenting voice among the members of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), he said, according to a tweet by the Union Health Ministry.
The government had on May 13 said it has accepted the Covid-19 Working Group’s recommendation and extended the gap between the two doses of the Covishield vaccine from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 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 the interval of Covaxin vaccine doses was recommended,” the ministry had said in a statement.
The chair of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation explained the process that culminated in the decision.
"Initial studies on Covishield were very heterogeneous. Some countries like the UK went for 12 weeks dose interval when they introduced the vaccine. While we were privy to this, when we decided our interval, we went for four weeks interval based on our bridging trial data," he added.
“At that time, our science-based technical committee anchored by ICMR along with DBT by looking at the available data felt breakthrough infections may increase if the gap is increased (to 12 weeks).
“So, in good faith, based on their capability, without any pressures, they increased the dosage interval to 4 to 8 weeks. The issue was reviewed periodically again and again.
“Now based on the available real-life evidence, particularly from the UK, the decision to extend it from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks has been taken with confidence that there will not be an extra risk. This is a dynamic decision and part of periodic review,” Paul had said.
Apart from India, the UK is the other biggest user of the AstraZeneca Covid shots.
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