After chaos at Covid-19 vaccination centres, govt says old slots valid

States have been advised to undertake awareness activities to inform the beneficiaries about this change.
The Centre on Sunday assured the people that no one, who had pre-booked their second jab of Covishield, would be turned away.  

This came after there was chaos at vaccination centres in Delhi on Saturday where people, who had completed over six weeks of the first shot and queued up to take their second jab, were being asked to leave.

Recently, the government had extended the gap of the two Covishield doses from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks. The health ministry has instructed states not to turn away people or cancel the appointment of those who had booked their second appointment for Covishield before the dose interval change was notified. 

The government said, “Online appointments booked for the second dose of Covishield, prior to this change of the interval between the two doses must be honoured.” However, beneficiaries would now not be able to book an appointment for the second dose of Covishield at a date less than 84 days after the first dose. 

 The CoWIN portal has been reconfigured to reflect the change in the dose interval for Covishield to 12-16 weeks from the earlier gap of six to eight weeks. 

States have been advised to undertake awareness activities to inform the beneficiaries about this change.

Last week, the government increased the gap between two doses of Covishield based on additional data, particularly the real-life experience in the UK, that showed increased advantage with higher interval between shots. 

The government clarified that the decision was not taken under any pressure or due to shortage of vaccine but based entirely on scientific evidence particularly the real-life experience in the UK.  However, the UK on Friday announced that the gap between the first and second Covid jab would be cut to eight weeks from 12 for all over-50s and the clinically vulnerable. 

“We have taken our decision based on our risks. Things have changed in the UK as well. It is a dynamic situation and we are driven by science. If the science changes tomorrow, we will move forward accordingly,” said V K Paul, member-health NITI Aayog, in a press briefing on Sunday. 

India has so far administered 180 million doses of vaccines. More than 5,62,000 beneficiaries of the age group 18-44 years received their first dose of Covid vaccine. Nearly one third of the 45-plus population received their first dose of vaccine in the country, according to the health ministry.  

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