The duration of 84 days between first and second doses of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine gives the best protection against the coronavirus, the central government, in a counter-affidavit filed in the Kerala High Court, on Friday said.
“India`s National COVID Vaccination Program was built on scientific and epidemiological evidence, World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and global best practices,” Centre said.
Centre’s affidavit comes after Kochi’s Kitex Garments Ltd filed a writ petition in the court, urging the government to allow the company to administer the second dose of Covishield vaccine to its workers before the completion of the 84-day gap.
The central government also added the interval between the two doses of Covisheild had undergone a series of revisions under the guidance of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) on the basis of available and emerging scientific evidence.
Centre in the affidavit said, “Based on the recommendations by NEGVAC, the schedule of the Covishield vaccine under the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme is to administer the second dose at 12-16 weeks interval after administration of the first dose. This is based on the technical opinion that the duration of 84 days between 1st and 2nd doses of Covishield is providing the best protection against COVID-19.”
“To provide full vaccination coverage and facilitate international travel for genuine reasons, it was decided to allow the second dose before the prescribed time period of 12-16 weeks. As per the evidence available, the immunity provided by two doses of the Covishield vaccine with intervals less than 12-16 weeks would be better than partial vaccination. The decision to increase the Dose interval of the Covishield vaccine was based on scientific evidence and expert opinion as per available efficacy data,” it further said.
The counsel for the petitioner submitted in the Kerala High Court that the 84 days gap stipulation could not be made applicable to paid vaccines, and it pointed out that the medical protocol of the Covishield manufacturer had allowed a 28-day gap between two doses of the vaccine.