Vaccination for coronavirus can be taken three months after recovery, the Centre said today. The second dose of Covid vaccine should also be delayed by three months for anyone contracting the disease after the first dose. So far, there was no fixed gap for taking a vaccine in such situations. Individual physicians recommended a gap of two or four weeks depending on the condition of the patient.
A few days ago, Dr Randeep Guleria -- chief of Delhi's Al-India Institute of Medical Sciences and a member of the Centre's Covid task force -- had held a press conference where he suggested a gap of four weeks in such cases.
The fresh rules are part of the recommendations by NEGVAC -- the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 led by NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul --- which have been accepted by the Union health ministry.
The new expert group has also recommended vaccination for lactating women.
The changes come less than a week after the government expanded the gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine from six to eight weeks to 12 to 16 weeks, saying it pushed up the efficacy of the vaccine.
"Based on available real-life evidence, particularly from the United Kingdom, the COVID-19 Working Group has agreed to increase dosing interval between two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks. No change in intervals for Covaxin was recommended," the government said in its statement.
The move -- a second extension in three months -- had drawn much criticism from the Congress in the backdrop of an acute vaccine shortage.
Today's decision is likely to impact lakhs of people who have contracted the disease. The country logged 2.67 lakh new cases today, taking the overall count to 2.54 crore and the number of active cases to 1,27,046.
The country also set a grim global record, logging theb deaths of 4,529 Covid patients over the last 24 hours, breaching the highest daily deaths registered by the United States in January (4,475).
While the numbers have been on a downward movement over the last weeks, the positivity rate is not in the safe zone yet.