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NTAGI Chairperson: Vaccine-related decisions based on science to be taken in India

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Dr NK Arora, head of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), explained the government’s decision to postpone immunisation for three months following clinical recovery from coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Monday, saying that India bases all vaccine choices on research.

“We use scientific evidence and make the best use of vaccines. We are not just trying to have the best efficacy but also trying to see that the country is protected from various variants and waves of coronavirus going forward. We know coronavirus will stay for some time and we want to ensure that the people are adequately protected. Here, I must also say that the vaccine shortage is only for the next six weeks, “ said N K Arora.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) has previously advocated deferring vaccination for three months after clinical recovery from the disease.

These suggestions were developed based on “emerging global scientific evidence and experience,” according to the Union health ministry. If a person contracts the disease after receiving the first dose of their vaccine, the second dosage should be given three months after they have recovered, according to the recommendations.

“We know from July onwards the manufacturing of Covaxin and Covishield will increase 20-25 crore doses per month. In addition, we will be having other vaccines also like Zydus Cadila, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson in coming months,” NK Arora said.

According to NTAGI recommendations, the existence of antibodies in people’s systems reduces their risk of reinfection by 84-91 per cent in the 6-7 months following infection, according to two studies conducted in the UK and the US.

Meanwhile, India’s decision to delay vaccination of recovered patients by three months was based on data from 1,400 participants, according to the NTAGI Chairman, who found that the probability of reinfection after 102 days of recovery was only 4.5 per cent.

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