Over 17.7 crore nationals have been vaccinated with Covishield or Covaxin, out of which 3.9 crores has also received their second jab.
Shortage of Covid-19 vaccines has led to the snail pace vaccination of the beneficiaries. People are facing difficulty in securing a slot, while some have not yet got their first jab, others are struggling to get a second appointment and in between all these some are getting infected by the novel coronavirus. Here’s everything about the national vaccination regime and how long one should wait if infected with Covid-19.
What is India’s current vaccination regime?
Over 17.7 crore nationals have been vaccinated with Covishield or Covaxin, out of which 3.9 crores has also received their second jab. Currently, the second dose of Covishield is administered 12-6 weeks after the first dose and in the case of Covaxin the window is of 28 days. The DGCIO shifted the interval from 406 weeks to 608 and then 12-16 weeks on May 16.
When to get vaccinated after you recover from Covid
According to US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an infected person should wait for 90 days from the day of testing positive for Covid-19. According to Immunologist Dr. Vineeta Bal, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, immunity formed from infection is likely to last for a few months. So the infected person should ideally wait for 6-8 weeks after recovery.
According to vaccine scientist Dr Gagandeep Kang, natural immunity later infection provides 80 per cent protection and it is fine to wait till six months before getting vaccinated. WHO also suggests that the vaccination can wait for up to six months after natural infection as it is likely to persist in the body until then.
When to get vaccinated if infected after first dose
In such a case, the second dose can be given eight weeks after the person tests positive for coronavirus infection as the body has acquired immunity after the infection, said Dr V Raavi, nodal officer for genetic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2. In such cases, the infection will be mild and depends on when the exposure took place.
The vaccine will not have much effect if exposure to the virus tales place within one to three weeks of receiving the first dose, i.e. one to three weeks of the first dose The course of infection would continue but most likely the person will suffer a milder form of the disease if she is Covid-positive after getting first shot.
According to CDC, it takes the body at least two weeks to build antibodies after receiving the first jab.
Should you worry if you cannot book second vaccine dose slot?
Dr Shashank Joshi, a member of the Maharashtra Covid-19 task force, there’s no need to worry but it should not be delayed indefinitely. According to Lancet study, Covishield yields 81.3% efficacy if the two doses are administered 12 weeks apart and only 55.1% if administered in a small window like 6 weeks apart. The longer the gap, the better is the efficacy.
According to Dr Kaang, for Covaxin, it offers lesser protection with the first dose, so the window between the two doses should not be more to attain 80 per cent protection. A few weeks of delay is permissible but one should not omit the second dose completely. Recently DGCI has cleared permission for third dose of Covaxin to some volunteers in clinical trials.
Can you take a cocktail of two different vaccines?
There are no adequate data available to establish that this can be practiced. According to Dr Bal, it is an administrative problem and not a scientific one. CDC too maintains that Covid-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. When one vaccine is not available it is better to delay the second jab than to take a mixed series using a different product.