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COVID: India's vaccine-related decisions based on scientific evidence, says Dr NK Arora

By Shalini Bhardwaj | Updated: May 24, 2021 23:52 IST

New Delhi [India], May 24 (ANI): National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) Chairman Dr NK Arora on Monday said India's vaccine-related decisions are based on scientific evidence.
"We use scientific evidence and make the best use of vaccines which we are using at the moment. We are not just trying to have the best efficacy but also trying to see that the country is protected from various variants and waves of corona going forward. We know corona will stay for some time and we want to ensure that the people are adequately protected. Here, I must also say that the vaccine shortage is only for the next six weeks," said Dr Arora.
According to recommendations by NTAGI, there are two studies -- one is from the UK and the other is from the USA -- both studies are suggesting that after SARS-CoV-2 infection, people develop antibodies and the chances of reinfection get reduced by 84-91 per cent reduction in the ensuing 6-7 months.
So, there is this evidence that if somebody has a proven infection, there is reasonable protection from reinfection.
He said India's decision is based upon the studies of the Indian data of 1.400 individuals that showed that after 102 days, the risk of reinfection is only 4.5 per cent.
"We know from July onwards the manufacturing of Covaxin and Covishield will increase 20-25 crore doses per month. In addition, we will be having other vaccines also Like Zydus Cadila, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson in coming months," said Dr Arora.
NTAGI recommended that the natural COVID infection need to be used as a further boost to the effectiveness of the COVID vaccines. It said persons having laboratory tests proven SARS-CoV-2 illness should defer the COVID-19 vaccination for 12 weeks after recovery.
The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) on Wednesday had recommended that the COVID vaccination should be deferred by three months after clinical recovery of the illness.
According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, NEGVAC's fresh recommendations were based on the evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and emerging global scientific evidence and experience.
For COVID patients, who have been given anti-SARS-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, the vaccination should be deferred by three months from the date of discharge from the hospital, said NEGVAC.
NEGVAC's new recommendations further say if a person gets infected with COVID post administration of the first dose of the vaccine, the second dose should be deferred by three months after clinical recovery from the illness.
It is recommended that an individual can donate blood after 14 days of either receipt of the COVID vaccine or testing RT-PCR negative if suffering from COVID-19 disease. NEGVAC further clarified that there is no requirement for screening of the vaccine recipients by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) prior to COVID vaccination.
The expert panel had said persons with any other serious general illness requiring hospitalisation or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. (ANI)