Government on Saturday said that it would find out the basis of the decision taken by the UK to keep the coronavirus vaccine dose interval at eight weeks while stressing that the UK’s decision is based on their pandemic situation and epidemiology.
“We have taken our decision based on our risks. Things have changed in the UK as well. It is a dynamic situation and we are driven by science. If the science changes tomorrow we will move forward accordingly,” said V K Paul, member-health Niti Aayog.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that the gap between the first and second Covid jab would be cut to eight weeks from 12 for all those over the age of 50 and the clinically vulnerable. Johnson also said that the B.1.617 variant, detected in India, could cause serious disruptions in lifting of lockdown in the country.
Paul also clarified that the decision to increase the time interval between two doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks announced on Thursday was not taken under any pressure or due to shortage of vaccine. Calling such interpretations extremely sad, Paul said, “Independent scientists in our institutes have taken these decisions after studying the data to reduce the risk of infection in the Indian population.”
He said that the new data from the real life experience of the UK showed that even a single dose showed 60-85 per cent effectiveness in protection against severe disease. It also inhibits transmission of the virus.
“They are taking decisions based on their situation, mutant, pandemic. we have taken it as per our risks epidemiology. We are driven by science. It is a dynamic process. We will keep any eye…we will find out the basis of their decision,” said Paul at a Health Ministry press briefing.
The ministry also said that active cases in India have been declining for the last twelve days while the number of recovered patients has increased showing signs that the covid situation might be stabilising.
“We can see a clear pattern of decline in some states but cases are increasing in some other states…It is a mixed picture but overall the situation is stabilising. We hope to ensure further decline,” Paul added.
India’s total active caseload has decreased to 3,673,802 today. It now comprises 15.07 per cent of the country’s total positive cases so far. A net decline of 31,091 cases was recorded in the active caseload in the last 24 hours.
India registered 326,098 new cases in the last 24 hours and 75 per cent of these were from ten states alone.
With Covid infections now reaching tier-two and -three towns and villages, the government also said that Covid management has to reach rural India.