India Likely To Allow Smaller Gap Between AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine Doses Sold Privately: Sources

India is likely to permit a smaller gap between AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses for immunizations being carried out confidentially, in line with a court order, two sources told Reuters.

India is likely to permit a smaller gap between AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses for immunizations being carried out confidentially, in line with a court order, two sources told Reuters.

The sources said that the private hospitals and clinics will give an option to their paying patients to receive their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine four weeks after the first, down from between 12 and 16 weeks presently.

Prior this month, changes in the health ministry’s vaccine-booking platform to give people paying for vaccination choice was ordered by the high court in the southern state of Kerala, which is already being provided to those flying abroad.

“Since the high court has given a judgement, it will have to be done,” said one of the sources. “For the government’s programme, the ideal gap remains 12 weeks.”

In the month of May India doubled the gap between the AstraZeneca vaccine’s two doses in May to make sure more people were vaccinated with at least one dose when supplies were rare which the country was hit by the disastrous second wave of Covid-19.

The second dose of the coronavirus vaccine be taken four weeks after the first shot is recommended by AstraZeneca but on its website, it says that there is a “trend of increased efficacy with a longer than 4-week dosing interval”. However, the World Health Organization recommends a gap of eight to 12 weeks.

The sources, who refused to be named because they were not authorised to speak to the media, could not say that when the changes will be applied.

Moreover, the health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for any comment.

India’s total vaccine output has tripled since May to 300 million doses a month. In Less than a quarter of the production is sold by private hospitals while the rest is provided by the government free of cost.

India has administered at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in 65% of its 944 million adults and two doses in 22% of adults.

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