New Delhi, Jul 27 (PTI): The recommendation of an expert panel on Covid to increase the gap between Covishield doses was made based on scientific evidence in a transparent manner, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
No dissent was raised by any member in the meeting of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) regarding the recommendation, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said in a written reply. Responding to a question, Pawar said the COVID Working Group of NTAGI recommended extension of the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks based on available scientific evidence particularly from the UK as well as WHO global guidance. This recommendation has been considered and also recommended by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC). The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has accepted this recommendation for extension of the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks.
Responding to another question on whether the government is aware that three of the 14 members of the NTAGI have said that the body did not have enough data to make such a recommendation, Pawar said, “The relevant recommendation of the Covid working group of NTAGI to increase the gap between Covishield doses has been taken based on scientific evidence in a transparent manner. No dissent was raised by any member in the said meeting of NTAGI regarding the said recommendation.”
Covishield gives 93% protection against COVID, 98% mortality reduction
Covishield gives 93 per cent protection against COVID-19 and a 98 per cent mortality reduction, the government said on Tuesday referring to a study by the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) during the second COVID-19 wave that was driven by the Delta variant. Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr V K Paul presented findings of the study which was conducted on 15 lakh doctors and frontline workers. “Protection to the extent of 93 per cent was seen (in people who were administered the Covishield vaccine) and this was during the second wave which was driven by the Delta variant… also 98 per cent mortality reduction was seen,” he said. Reiterating the usefulness of vaccines in battling COVID-19, Paul said inoculation reduces infection but it is not a total guarantee.
“No vaccine guarantees that infection will not happen but serious disease gets prevented and nearly eliminated. I urge you to please be vigilant, be careful, have faith in our vaccines and continue to be careful in the weeks and months ahead,” he added.