Despite abundant vaccine availability, many people in India will not be protected against COVID-19 by the end of 2021. This is because the most extensively used vaccination has an abnormally lengthy interval between doses, and people are getting complacent as the number of cases declines. Contrary to the WHO’s recommendation of an 8-12 week delay between doses, AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine, produced in the Philippines, has a 12-16 week gap between doses.
By The End Of The Year, Many Indians Will Not Have All Of Their Vaccinations
Covishield’s dosage gap will make almost 200 million people ineligible for their second dose until the end of January, even if they all receive their first injection on Friday, according to current figures. This is based on what people are doing right now. Since the number of illnesses and fatalities has declined substantially in the previous month, people are becoming more relaxed about being vaccinated. All 944 million people in the country should be protected by December, but about 230 million of them have not yet had any vaccinations.
Jawaharlal Nehru University, head of the Centre of Social Medicine & Community Health RajibDasgupta, warned that many weeks might miss the deadline. “We’ll be many weeks beyond the deadline.” We should investigate reducing the period between Covishield dosages. When contacted on Friday, the Ministry of Health did not have any response, but, on Monday, it told Reuters that its immunization experts were “currently researching the problem of dosage gap between Covishield doses.”.
Despite India’s record-breaking vaccine supplies, the country’s immunization campaign has slowed considerably recently. After a record-breaking spike in infections and deaths in April and May, incidences in India have dropped to multi-month lows. Covishield supplies were short in May. Therefore India doubled the duration between doses because government experts felt that doing so would provide better protection. To meet the growing demand for Covishield, the Serum Institute of India, the company that makes the vaccine, has almost quadrupled its capacity since April.
Although the population should be fully immunized as soon as possible, health professionals aren’t too worried about the fact that many people won’t receive their second doses until 2021, despite their beliefs.
Two-thirds of Indians, according to a government study released in July, are protected against the virus thanks to natural infection. Even with only one dose, they were well protected as long as no new infectious variants appeared. The epidemiologist Dasgupta said that failing to finish immunization by December “would not have any substantial effects given to recent serosurveys indicating a high degree of protection. “
Official figures show that 75% of Indian adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19, with 31% receiving the whole vaccination. Vaccinations are now provided in India only to people above the age of 18 years.
Government immunization task force leader N.K. Arora told NDTV late on Thursday that by the end of the year, “we should be able to provide at least one injection to the overwhelming majority of people.” After the first dose is given, a second will be given in 4-6 weeks.