Wondering what should be the ideal time frame between the first and second COVID vaccination dose? According to India’s vaccination program, the prescribed interval between the two doses of Covishield is 28 days, global studies and several scientists however, have called for stretching the interval between 8-12weeks. Recently, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) met to discuss and review the dosage interval for currently available COVID vaccines in India. As per the current plan, the second dose of Covishield and Covaxin is administered after a gap of 28 days. Having said that, new evidence around the efficacy of the COVID19 vaccines suggests the effectiveness of the vaccine is more if there is a gap of 8-12 weeks between the two shots.
Well, it is understandable to be confused as there is too much information related to COVID-19 vaccination floating on the internet. So far, over 3.21 million people have been vaccinated across the country and many have already been registered for their second dose. Before being inoculated, staying informed and aware is crucial as we continue to weather through this pandemic.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO BE VACCINATED?
Enough said about this, but it is necessary to put COVID vaccine to build protection. If you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, coworkers and others around you. The vaccines, on the other hand, help to build immunity and are instrumental in breaking the chain of spread. The two vaccines available in India, Covaxin and Covishield have gone through rigorous clinical efficacy processes and trials, after which they have been certified for public administration. They are safe and must be taken after seeking advice from your physician.
WHY ARE COUNTRIES DIFFERING ON VACCINATION TIME SPAN?
Firstly, it is important to note that it takes about 2-3 weeks for anti-bodies to start developing after the 1st dose is taken. With the first dose, people develop antibodies slowly but with the second dose, this process gets faster. Therefore, a minimum 28-day gap is appropriate. Many countries are maintaining a gap of around 3 months to ensure that the maximum number of people in their country get inoculated. While, in India, our approach has been different. Through our phased approach which keeps in mind our population size, we are hoping that people receive their vaccination in a timely manner.
WHAT SHOULD DO BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND DOSE?
Remember, receiving your 1st dose doesn’t mean that you won’t get infected by COVID19. You can still get COVID19 even after your second dose, but it will an extremely mild one, and may not need hospitalization. However, care has to be taken at all times:
- Wearing a mask when outside, avoiding crowded gatherings & maintaining hygiene and health are very important.
- Traveling to places where there’s no way to know if the people around you have been vaccinated, will remain risky.
- After vaccination you might experience common side-effects such as pain, light fever, tiredness, bodyache, etc., so drink plenty of fluids, apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
- Eat nutritious food to improve immunity, ensure you get a good sleep and avoid alcohol, smoking etc.
Most importantly, do not consider yourself to be immune to the dreaded virus, if caution is not exercised, you may be infected with COVID19 despite receiving both shots of the vaccine.
With inputs by Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi
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