There have been new revisions made in the COVID-19 vaccine guidelines. Centre on Thursday announced that the gap between 1st and 2nd doses of Covishield is increased to 12-16 week. Further, the Centre also recommended that COVID-19 recovered patients should wait 6 months to be vaccinated and defer from the vaccination as soon as they are recovered.


The announcement from the Centre comes at a time where medical experts from all over the world have accepted that vaccination is the only way to curb the mighty and deadly wave of COVID-19. While Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine, which is one of the 2 vaccines currently being made use of, has gone another increase in interval between two doses. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has not been suggested any such revisions.


On Thursday the government announced the third interval change in the gap between the two doses of the Covishield vaccine. The changes were deliberated upon and then accepted by the National Expert Group of Vaccine Administration led by Dr. V.K. Paul.

According to revised guidelines, now the suggested gap between the first and second dose is 12-16 weeks from the prior 6-8 weeks. For the people who are administered or to be administered the Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, 4-6 weeks remains the gap between the doses.

The government’s statement stated-

“Based on available real-life evidence, particularly from the United Kingdom, the COVID-19 Working Group has agreed to increase dosing interval between two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks. No change in intervals for Covaxin was recommended.”

Gap interval changed after “careful study”

At the press conference, Dr. V.K. Paul said that the gap interval has been changed after “careful study and without pressure from anyone”. Dr. Paul also said that the global body on public health care WHO was also consulted before finalizing the decision.

In a NDTV report, Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla remained positive on the decision. The SII Chief said that the extension is-

“beneficial both from efficacy and immunogenicity standpoint… good scientific decision to increase the gap.”

It should be noted that this is the 3rd time the Centre has increased the time interval between 2 doses of Covishield. The first recommended gap interval was 4-6 weeks at the start of the vaccination drive. Later in March, the gap was changed to 4-8 weeks.

Epidemiology Expert Anthony Fauci weighs in on the gap revision

While the opposition remained critical on the new decision, citing the lack of vaccines as an excuse for the gap interval’s change, epidemiology expert Dr. Anthony Fauci appreciated the decision. Dr. Fauci said that increasing COVID-19 vaccination is the only way to curb the pandemic and thus extending the gap is a “reasonable approach”.

The White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Fauci in an interview said-

“When you are in a very difficult situation, the way you are in India, you have to try and figure out ways to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as you can, so I believe that it is a reasonable approach to do.”

Dr. Fauci further said that spreading out the doses to a larger time interval will not have any negative effect on the vaccine’s efficacy.

“The fact that you delay it that long, it is very unlikely that it would have a negative effect on the efficacy of the vaccine. I would not refer to it as a cover up when you don’t have enough vaccines,”

-Dr. Fauci was quoted by ANI.

COVID-19 recovered patients should wait for 6 months to be vaccinated

Meanwhile, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), has recommended that COVID-19 recovered patients should defer from getting vaccinated for 6 months after recovery period. The government panel will now send its recommendations to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) led by Dr. V.K. Paul for approval.

Further, the expert group also said that pregnant women may take one COVID-19 vaccine doses and lactating women are also now eligible for vaccination. This is a revised decision as earlier the expert group had stated that pregnant women and lactating women are not eligible to be vaccinated.

This decision comes after a new study that was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology concluded that COVID-19 vaccines will not cause injury to pregnant women’s placenta. The study saw pregnant women participating receiving a Moderna or the Pfizer vaccines. These 2 vaccines are not currently included in the vaccine basket of India.