- India kick-started the vaccination drive against COVID-19 from January 16
- Both Covishield and Covaxin are two dose vaccines being used in India
- The prescribed gap between two doses is 28 days
New Delhi: The country kickstarted its vaccination drive against the COVID-19 on January 16 and according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), in the first three days of the massive drive, over 3.81 lakh individuals from the priority group – health and frontline workers – have been given the first dose of the vaccines approved for emergency use. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier this month approved Covishield which has been developed by the Oxford University and AstraZeneca and manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India and Covaxin which has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech and Indian Council of Medical Research. Both the vaccines are to be given in two doses, as prescribed by MoHFW. As the vaccinated individuals wait to get the second dose, NDTV spoke with Dr Suresh Jadhav, Executive Director, Serum Institute of India about the recommended days of gap between two doses and how will the efficacy vary.
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Dr Jadhav highlighted that getting a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines is definitely advisable after the first shot as it would give substantial protection against the novel coronavirus.
He further said that the efficacy of the Covishield vaccine goes up if the gap between two doses is more than 28 days. Dr Jadhav added that the results were much better when this gap was increased by a few weeks. He said,
Even if the difference is of four weeks (28 days), it gives good protection of around 70-80 per cent to the receiver. If the gap is increased further up to six weeks or eight weeks or 10 weeks, the results are much higher.
He explained that the Phase-III clinical trials that were conducted in India were done with a 28-days gap because of which this time period became the standard in the country. Dr Jadhav asserted,
While a gap of 28 days will provide a good immune response, but if you want the protection of a higher level and for a longer period, it is better to take the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine after six to eight weeks.
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While responding the frequently asked question of whether vaccination is necessary for those who have recovered from COVID-19, Dr Jadhav said that even after a person recovers from COVID-19, they should go for vaccination. This is because it has been seen that people can get the disease twice, he said.
On the question about catching the virus even after getting inoculated, Dr Jadhav said,
Yes, you can catch COVID-19 even after the vaccine. That happens for all diseases. However, the difference is that you can get the infection which will be mild and asymptomatic.
The government of India has also asked people who have recovered from COVID-19 infection to receive a complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine as it will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease.
While signing off, Dr Jadhav said that the two vaccines- Covishield and Covaxin must not be mixed up. He stressed on taking the second dose of the same vaccine as the first dose. Dr Jadhav said,
Each vaccine is different and uses different technology. So, no one should take both vaccines.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.