New Delhi [India], March 22 (ANI): The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 4.72 crore with 19,65,635 doses being given on Monday, the Union Health Ministry said.
These include over 78 lakh Health Care Workers who have taken the first dose and over 49 lakh Health Care workers who have taken the 2nd dose, over 81 lakh frontline workers who have taken the first dose and around 28 lakh frontline workers who have taken 2nd dose, according to the press release.
The Union Health Ministry said, more than one crore 94 lakh beneficiaries aged more than 60 years and over 40 lakh 72 thousand beneficiaries aged more than 45 years with specific co-morbidities were vaccinated till date.
The Ministry said, more than 19 lakh 65 thousand vaccine doses were given till 7 pm today.
Meanwhile, the Central government on Monday said that the gap between the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford University's Covishield vaccine should be increased to 6-8 weeks from the current 28 days.
In a press release, the Union Health Ministry said that in view of the emerging scientific evidence, the interval between two doses of a specific COVID-19 vaccine example Covishield has been revisited by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and subsequently by National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) in its 20th meeting.
The Ministry said, "During this meeting, the recommendation has been revised to provide the second dose of Covishield at 4-8 weeks' interval after the first dose, instead of earlier practised interval of 4-6 weeks. This decision of the revised time interval between two doses is applicable only to Covishield and not to Covaxin Vaccine."
"Keeping the existing scientific evidence in view, it appears that protection is enhanced if the second dose of Covishield is administered between 6-8 weeks, but not later than stipulated period of 8 weeks," the Ministry further added.
The Health Secretary has urged the States and UTs to instruct the concerned officials accordingly to undertake necessary steps to widely disseminate the message of revised dosing interval amongst programme managers, vaccinators and recipients of Covishield vaccine and ensure adherence of the revised dosing interval. (ANI)