In an official statement released by the government of Telangana on June 30th, Wednesday announced the decision of the “extension of the gap between the two doses of Covishield to 14-16 weeks”. This decision took everyone by surprise and this is the third time the duration for two doses of Covishield is increased.
Before this drastic decision, the Covishield was originally designed with a second dose in 8-12 weeks after the first one. While proper reasoning for this verdict lacked from the officials of the state, they said that “this action will help the state prioritize the first dose of vaccine for everyone” but several voices were raised against the decision stating that this action is “purely because of the shortage of vaccines in the state”.
Before May 2021, the gap between two doses was 6-8 weeks and the Central government then changed the duration to 12-16 weeks as reports suggested the efficacy of the vaccine was more after a long period with better antibody response. But, it is unknown to the public if this decision by the Telangana government is taken after the same belief or because of any other unknown reasons.
The Director of the Public Health and Family Welfare under the Telangana government stated that “In GHMC region, 100 vaccination centres will be open to vaccinate citizens above the age of 18. In jurisdictions other than GHMC, 204 vaccination centres are set up for which registration and slot booking on Co-WIN are mandatory. We have over 630 vaccination centres in rural areas of the state where walk-in registrations are allowed.”
The duration of 8-12 weeks gap for both doses remains intact in the whole country except for Telangana. However, those expecting their second dose of Covishield in a few days will have to wait for a couple of more weeks than the scheduled time and so far, the netizens have not taken this announcement very well.
With no clear reasons stated by the officials for this step, we will have to wait and see how this decision will affect the public whether this will help the vaccination drive become faster or if it will produce more antibodies than the previously described time period.