National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 set up by the government had given some new recommendations that the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has accepted.
Coronavirus vaccination in India: New guidelines for coronavirus vaccination issued! Amidst a severe second wave of coronavirus, India is also dealing with a shortage of vaccine doses. This shortage has become more visible now that the third phase for the vaccination has begun, which has effectively started the inoculation of the entire adult population in the country. However, since the virus as well as the vaccine are relatively new considering scientific research in these areas usually spans years, the guidelines for vaccination are continuously evolving. Accordingly, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 set up by the government had given some new recommendations that the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has accepted.
Here’s what the new guidelines say:
COVID-19 vaccine in India: New guidelines
The new guidelines have addressed some of the major questions that have been prevalent among people during this vaccination drive.
- As the second wave has led to a massive increase in the number of coronavirus cases, the questions regarding when COVID-19 recovered people can get the vaccine shot have also spiked considering that such people already have some level of antibodies produced naturally by their immune system. Now, the expert group has answered their queries, and has said that the vaccination, be it the first or the second dose, has to be deferred by a period of three months after recovering from the infection. This means that a person who has recovered from the disease must get the dose after three months from the day they recover from the infection.
- Another question that has been asked time and again by many is whether pregnant women can get vaccinated. The opinions of doctors also vary in this regard, and while the US CDC has recommended that pregnant women can take the vaccine, no such decision had been announced in India. The recommendation of CDC is not applicable in India because the vaccines being used in the US are completely different from the ones that India is administering. Moreover, even as the CDC has recommended that pregnant women be vaccinated, both the CDC itself and the WHO have stated that as yet, very limited data regarding safety among vaccinated pregnant women is currently available. This lack of data is likely why the expert group has now said that the issue of pregnant women is being discussed and deliberated by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).
- A similar issue is whether lactating women can get inoculated during this vaccination drive. Lactating mothers have been wanting to know whether the vaccine would somehow impact their children, while also being scared that they might pass on COVID-19 to their children if they are not vaccinated. The expert group has now given a clear recommendation that all the lactating mothers can get vaccinated.
- The panel has also said that vaccine recipients do not need to undergo Rapid Antigen Testing for screening purposes before getting the vaccine.
- The second wave of the pandemic in India saw people seeking help all over social media for medical issues, be it COVID-19 related or not, and others coming up to help them in whatever way possible. Amid this, several people have been wondering whether they would be able to donate blood soon after getting vaccinated, and in this regard, the expert panel has said that individuals can donate their blood 14 days after they receive the vaccine shot. Apart from that, for people suffering from COVID-19, the panel has said that such people would be able to donate blood 14 days after they test RT-PCR negative.