Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday said that the decision to increase the gap between two doses of the Covishield vaccine was taken in a transparent manner and based on scientific data.
"The decision to increase the gap between administering two doses of Covishield has been taken in a transparent manner based on scientific data. India has a robust mechanism to evaluate data. It is unfortunate that such an important issue is being politicised!" he tweeted and attached a statement from the government that quoted Dr NK Arora, the chairman of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), on the topic.
The clarification came amid reports that government increased intervals without the "support of the scientific group".
Meanwhile, Arora said that siscussions are underway on whether India should have a four or eight weeks interval for Covishield vaccine. Covishield is the local version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Pune-based Serum Institute of India is manufacture the druge.
He said that the emerging evidence and reports regarding efficacy of partial versus full immunisation are also under consideration.
The government had in May increased the gap between two doses of Covishield from four-six weeks to 12-16 weeks.
According to Arora, the move to increase the gap was based on scientific decision and there was no dissenting voice among the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) members.