Covid-19 vaccination, including precaution doses, for infected individuals will be deferred by three months post recovery, the Centre has announced in a new directive.
In a letter to states and Union Territories on Friday, Union Health Ministry Additional Secretary Vikas Sheel said the decision was taken on the basis of scientific evidence and following recommendation from the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.
“Please note that: -In case of individuals having lab test proven SARS-2 Covid-19 illness, all Covid vaccination including Precaution dose to be deferred by 3 months after recovery,” Sheel wrote.
“I request you to kindly direct the concerned officials to take note.”
This follows a similar directive issued by the Union Health Ministry last year that said a person who was infected by Covid-19 would have to wait three months from the day of recovery before becoming eligible for a vaccine shot. The government had said at that time that this would help the body develop stronger immunity and improve the effectiveness of the vaccine.
The Centre permitted Covid-19 vaccination for adolescents in the 15-18 age bracket from January 3 and precaution dose for health care workers, frontline workers, and persons above 60 years and with co-morbidities from January 10.
The precaution dose is prioritised and sequenced upon completion of nine months or 39 weeks from the date of administration of the second dose.
In a related development, the World Health Organisation said vaccine boosters should be offered to people, starting with the most vulnerable, moving away from its previous stance that boosters were unnecessary for healthy adults. The statement is also an acknowledgment that global vaccine supply was improving.
The United Nations health agency said at a press meet on Friday that it was recommending booster doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, beginning from the highest-priority groups, four to six months after completion of the first two doses, in line with the guidance issued by several countries that began booster dose programmes.