COVID vaccination: New recommendations and implementation in India
M3 India Newsdesk Jul 05, 2022
The panel meeting was held between STSC and NTAGI to discuss reducing the nine-month interval between second and precautionary doses of COVID-19 vaccinations to six months, this article provides detailed information for the same.
The Standing Technical Sub-Committee (STSC) of India's main vaccine strategy recommending body, NTAGI (National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation), met in the midst of an increase in COVID-19 infections. According to official sources, the committee had advocated lowering the existing nine-month interval between the second and precautionary doses of COVID-19 vaccinations to six months. The health ministry will shortly make a final decision about the proposal.
Updates on COVID-19 vaccine recommendations
The CMC research included Covishield and Covaxin- The government advisory council that convened on June 17 assessed the results of a research conducted by the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore on the possibility of permitting a different COVID-19 vaccine than the one used for primary immunisation as a precaution dosage.
What does the latest research convey?
The COVID working Group of NTAGI, which analysed the Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore study's findings in May, discovered a lack of homogeneity in the effects of combining jabs for booster doses.
- According to the research, scientific data shows that delivering a booster dosage of Covishield after primary immunisation with Covaxin results in 6 to 10 times greater antibody levels than when Covaxin is given as a precaution dose six months after the initial vaccination schedule.
- However, the same benefit was not found when Covaxin was administered as a booster injection after two Covishield doses.
- The panel members noticed a lack of homogeneity in the effects of combining jabs for booster injections and indicated that it cannot be recommended at this time.
The danger of monkeypox and the need for immunisation were also mentioned during the NTAGI panel's meeting. Nonetheless, the members were of the opinion that rigorous monitoring is necessary at this time. Until recently, no cases of monkeypox have been found in the nation.
Covaxin and Corbevax
The panel also analysed information about the Covaxin and Corbevax vaccines for children ages 6 to 12. The members are of the opinion that the evidence on COVID burden and mortality among children is insufficient to make a conclusion about the immunisation of individuals less than 12 years. Those 12 years and older are currently immunised against COVID-19.
In April of this year, India's medicines authority authorised the emergency use of Biological E's COVID-19 vaccine Corbevax for children aged five to twelve and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for children aged six to twelve.
Dose for kidney transplant patients
It was reported that the STSC members also decided to provide a third dosage to kidney transplant patients prior to the precautionary dose.
Reduce dose intervals
On the basis of scientific facts and statistics, members also decided to reduce the interval between the second and precaution doses of COVID-19 vaccinations from the current nine months to six months.
Currently, all individuals older than 18 who have completed nine months after receiving the second dosage are eligible for the precautionary dose.
- The Union government permitted residents and students travelling abroad to get the vaccination before the nine-month waiting time provided by the destination country's rules.
- At this time, anybody above the age of 18 who has waited nine months after receiving the second dosage is eligible for the prophylactic dose.
- According to studies conducted by worldwide research organisations, antibody levels decline around six months after the first vaccination with both doses, and a booster boosts the immune response.
- All individuals above the age of 18 who have completed nine months after receiving the second dosage are eligible to get the precautionary dose.
For adults over 60
- On January 10, India started delivering precautionary doses of vaccinations to healthcare and frontline workers, as well as individuals aged 60 and older with co-morbidities.
- In March, the government eliminated the comorbidity clause, making all adults over 60 eligible for the precautionary dosage.
- On April 10, India started providing precautionary COVID-19 vaccine doses to all individuals aged 18 and older at private immunisation centres.
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Disclaimer- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of M3 India.
The author is a practising super specialist from New Delhi.
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