Second dose of vaccines to be administered from February 13

India will begin to administer the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — from February 13 for people who were vaccinated on January 16, according to a press statement from the Press Information Bureau quoting Rajesh Bhushan, Health Secretary.

Mr. Bhushan was addressing a conference involving top bureaucrats, charged with health, from all States. Both vaccines approved in India are to be given 28 days apart, according to the rules governing their dosage.

In the United States, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is recommended to be given with 21 days between the first and second dose. And for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 28 days.

In the United Kingdom, the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are allowed to be given 12 weeks apart (even though 21 days is the recommended interval) to ensure more people get at least one shot.

As on Saturday, India has inoculated 5.6 million, which includes 5.2 million healthcare workers and 3,70,693 frontline workers, for whom vaccination began this week. There have been 22 deaths reported so far following vaccination. However, none of the deaths have been ruled as being due to the jabs.

Scope for improvement

Mr. Bhushan urged States and Union Territories to “exponentially increase” the pace of vaccination and that there remained “substantial scope for improvement” in the number of average vaccinations per session.

A total of 12 States and UTs have achieved 60% or more vaccination coverage of healthcare workers.

All States have been asked to schedule all healthcare workers for vaccination at least once before February 20 and all frontline workers at least once before March 6.

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