A government panel has recommended those testing positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to defer vaccination for six months after recovery.
An advisory group on the Covid-19 vaccines, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) also recommended that the gap between the two doses of Covishield to be increased to 12 to 16 weeks from six to eight weeks.
This announcement has come amid an acute shortage of vaccines all across the country. The recommendations of NTAGI’s will now be sent to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) for approval.
The Centre earlier in March had increased the gap between two doses of the Serum Institue of India (SII) vaccine from 28 days to six to eight weeks and there has been no change that has been suggested for interval between the two doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday, “We’re suspending the vaccination drive for the age group of 18-44 for the time being owing to the shortage of the vaccines.” The number of infections are rising at a pace with high numbers in states like Maharashtra that have stopped vaccination for their population in the age group of 18-44 and diverted all vaccines to cover people above the age to 45.
The panel also mentioned that pregnant women may take any one of the two Covid-19 vaccines and lactating women will also be eligible for getting vaccinated at a time after delivery.
According to a recent study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, the vaccines result in no injury to the placenta in pregnant women. It was also found in the study that most of the patients who are participating in these studies received either Moderna or the Pfizer vaccines but both of them are not in use in India.
However, the study will help ease the prevalent vaccine hesitancy, especially among pregnant women, researchers said, according to news agency PTI.
“From what we can tell, the Covid vaccine does not damage the placenta,” said Jeffery Goldstein, assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the US.