The Centre today clarified that bookings already done online or onsite for the second dose of Covishield vaccine won't be cancelled despite the gap after the first recently being extended by the government. While beneficiaries are advised to reschedule the appointments for their next round to some date beyond the 84-day gap now required, they will not be turned back if they choose to go by the slots already allotted to them.
A Union Health Ministry order issued today, however, said no fresh online or onsite appointments will be done on the CoWIN portal if the gap after the beneficiary's first dose is less than 84 days. It said the requisite changes have now been made to the portal.
The Centre had on May 13 extended the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks, based on the recommendations made by the COVID Working Group headed by Dr NK Arora.
"However, there have been reports in a section of the media suggesting that people who had booked their appointments for the second dose in less than 84 days on CoWIN are being turned back from vaccination centres without getting the second dose of Covishield," the ministry said.
"Already booked online appointments for the second dose of Covishield will remain valid and are not being cancelled...the beneficiaries are advised to reschedule their appointments for a later date beyond the 84th day from the date of first dose of vaccination," it said.
It has advised the states and Union territories to instruct the field staff that if such beneficiaries do come for vaccination, "the second Covishield dose must be administered and they must not be turned away".