The COVID Working Group chaired by Dr N K Arora had recommended extension of the gap between the first and second doses of COVISHIELD vaccine to 12-16 weeks. This has been accepted by Government of India on 13th May 2021.
Government of India has communicated this change to States and UTs. The CoWIN digital portal has also been reconfigured to reflect this extension of interval for two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks.
However, there have been reports in s a section of the media suggesting that people who had pre-booked their appointment for the second dose in less than 84 days on CoWIN are being turned back from vaccination centres without getting the second dose of Covishield.
It is clarified that the requisite changes have now been done in the CoWIN digital portal. As a result, further online or on-site appointments will not be possible if the period after 1st dose date for a beneficiary is less than 84 days.
Additionally, already booked online appointments for 2nd dose of Covishield will remain valid and are not being cancelled by COWIN. Further, the beneficiaries are advised to reschedule their appointments for a later date beyond the 84th day from the date of 1st dose vaccination.
The Union Government has reiterated to the States and UTs that the online appointments booked for 2nd dose of COVISHELD prior to this change of the interval between the two doses of Covishield, must be honoured.
The Union Health Ministry has advised the Sates/UTs that the field staff may be instructed that, if such beneficiaries do come for vaccination, the second Covishield dose must be administered and they must not be turned away. They have also been advised to undertake awareness activities to inform the beneficiaries about this change.