The central government has lately come under a lot of criticism over the new rule that increased the gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks, from the earlier 8-week gap, while there were no changes in the dosage interval for Covaxin.
The ambiguity over the decision has now been cleared by Dr Balram Bhargava, the head of Indian Council for Medical Research, who said that the gap between both the doses of Covaxin was unchanged as the immunity achieved after the first shot is not as high as the other vaccines.
3-month gap for Covishield mandatory
Bhargava, justifying the Centre’s decision to make the 3-month gap for Covishield mandatory, said that the immunity found after the first shot of the vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India was found to be strong.
However, the immunity level produced after the first dose of Covaxin is not as high and “this means the second dose should be taken after four weeks to ensure full efficacy”, the TOI report quoted him as saying.
The ICMR chief further said that scientists and experts are still in the learning stages of what could possibly work best against the Covid-19 virus.
‘With Covaxin, not too many antibodies’
“Vaccines against Covid-19 first came on December 15. We are very new, and are learning…trials are still on. It is an evolving science. By giving the first dose of Covaxin, you do not achieve too many antibodies. You achieve it after the second dose. With Covishield, antibodies are achieved at good levels,” Bhargava said, according to The Hindu.
Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V are the three vaccines that the DGCI has approved for emergency use in the country. Covaxin is an indigenous vaccine being manufactured by Hyderabad-based biotechnology company, Bharat Biotech.
Pune-based Serum Institute of India is manufacturing Covishield — the local version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Sputnik V has been approved to be imported from Russia by Dr Reddy’s but is yet to be widely available in the country.
VARANASI: Choking with emotion while paying respect to people who died of Covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave the mantra of ‘Jahaan Beemar, Wahin Upchaar’ (treatment at one’s doorstep) to reduce burden on the healthcare system.
The PM also thanked doctors and frontline workers for putting up a brave front against the pandemic and said they were fighting a long drawn battle with the virus.
Interacting with doctors, paramedical staff and other frontline workers of his parliamentary constituency, Varanasi, through video conferencing, the PM said, “Bringing treatment to the patients’ doorsteps will reduce the burden on medical infrastructure which is already under great pressure. We have to fight on many fronts. With concerted efforts, we have handled the pandemic to a great extent but still we have to fight a long drawn battle. We should focus on rural areas of Varanasi and Purvanchal (east UP),” he said.
Lauding the efforts of the Yogi Adityanath government and the Varanasi district administration in tackling the pandemic and starting preparations for the imminent third wave, he said more ‘micro-containment zones’ should be created and medicines be delivered to patients at their homes.
Fighting back tears while remembering those who fell prey to the second wave of pandemic, the PM said: “My heartfelt tribute to people who lost their lives due to Covid-19. I extend my condolence to the bereaved families.”
Commending the efforts of doctors, nurses, technicians, ward boys, ambulance drivers and other frontline health workers of Varanasi, PM Modi praised the pace at which the number of oxygen and ICU beds were increased and Pt Rajan Mishra Covid Hospital was activated by DRDO.
Expressing happiness over the functioning of Integrated Covid Command Centre (ICCC), he said Varanasi’s example would inspire the world. “Initiatives like creation of micro-containment zones and home delivery of medicines yielded positive results. The telemedicine facility, ‘Kashi Kavach’, started by bringing doctors, labs and e-marketing companies together was also an innovative step,” he added.
The PM warned against complacency and urged frontline warriors to take maximum advantage of the potential and experience of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurses & Midwives (ANM) in Covid management in rural areas.
Terming the vaccine as ‘safety armour’ against Covid-19, the PM said the frontline workers could serve people properly as they had already been vaccinated.
“In the coming days, we will extend vaccine protection to everyone. I urge people to get vaccinated as soon as their turn comes,” he said, adding that efforts should be made to stop vaccine wastage.
The PM praised the efforts of the state government in controlling encephalitis in children in Purvanchal region and urged the officials and doctors to work with the same sensitivity and diligence to check coronavirus.