Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 19
India on Wednesday changed its Covid vaccine policy allowing jabs for lactating women and deciding to defer inoculations for all lab-confirmed Covid positive persons for three months after recovery.
The health ministry accepted wide-ranging recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Group of Immunisation, which vetted the changes based on evidence, on Wednesday.
At present, the protocol recommended is for Covid infected persons to defer shots for four to eight weeks after recovery. The period has now been definitively extended to 30 days after recovery.
“As per new recommendations of National Expert Group on Vaccinations for Covid, Covid-19 vaccination is now to be deferred by 3 months after recovery from the illness. If infected with Covid after 1st dose, 2nd dose to be deferred by 3 months after clinical recovery from Covid-19 illness. Also Covid-19 vaccination has been recommended for all lactating women,” the government said.
So far vaccination was not recommended for people with allergies, pregnant and lactating women.
Vaccine contra-indications for pregnant women and allergic people still stand.
“No screening of vaccine recipients by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) is needed prior to Covid-19 vaccination,” said another of government decisions on Wednesday.
The ministry said National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC)’s recommendations regarding Covid-19 vaccination are based on the evolving situation of the Covid-19 pandemic and emerging global scientific evidence and experience.
“Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has accepted these recommendations,” the government said.
Deferring the Covid-19 vaccination will happen in the following scenarios:
—Individuals having lab test proven SARS-2 Covid-19 illness will defer COVID-19 vaccination by 3 months after recovery.
—SARS-2 Covid-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma will defer Covid-19 vaccination by 3 months from the date of discharge from the hospital.
—Individuals who have received at least the 1st dose and got Covid-19 infection before completion of the dosing schedule will defer the 2nd dose by 3 months after clinical recovery from the illness.
—Persons with any other serious general illness requiring hospitalisation or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
—An individual can donate blood after 14 days of either receipt of Covid-19 vaccine or testing RT-PCR negative, if suffering from Covid-19 disease.
“Covid-19 vaccination is recommended for all lactating women. There is no requirement for screening of the vaccine recipients by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) prior to Covid-19 vaccination. Regarding Covid-19 vaccination of pregnant women, the matter is under discussion and further deliberation by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI),” said the government.
The Health Ministry has also written to States and UTs to direct the concerned officials to take note of these recommendations and undertake necessary action for their effective implementation.
States have been advised to ensure effective dissemination of the information to service provides as well as the general public, through the use of all channels of information and communication in the local languages.
States have also been advised to undertake the training of the vaccination staff at all levels.
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