Astrazeneca Covishield vaccine | 23 February 2021
Interval between first and second dose extended to eight weeks
Following recommendations by the World Health Organisation regarding the Astrazeneca Covishield vaccine against Covid-19, the Ministry of Health is increasing the interval between the first and second dose of the vaccine to eight weeks.
Research by the manufacturers, Oxford University (United Kingdom) and AstraZeneca, conducted in various countries highlight that the vaccine is more effective if the interval between the two doses are longer.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidance published on February 10, 2021, an 8 to 12-week interval between the vaccine is recommended given the observation that two-dose efficacy and production of antibodies to fight the virus increase with a longer delay between the doses.
It is observed that prolonging the time between when someone receives the second dose for up to 12 weeks increases the level of antibodies produced following the first dose therefore greatly reinforcing vaccine efficacy after the second dose is administered.
The first group of people who received the Covishield vaccine were expected to receive the second dose as of mid-February but will now start receiving the second doses as of mid-March.
Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign continues with administration of the second dose for individuals who have already received the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine.
Administration of the first dose of the Covishield vaccine has also been extended to other groups in the population as different target groups who can receive the vaccine are covered.
Press release from the Ministry of Health