Telangana Health Minister T Harish Rao on Friday wrote to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to reduce the gap between the two doses of Covishield and allow booster dose for frontline workers in view of emerging COVID-19 variants.
Rao in the letter wrote, "I wish to bring to your kind notice that, the target population for COVID vaccination in Telangana is about 277 crores. As on date, 3.77 crore doses of vaccine have been administered of which 2.49 crore are first dose and 1.28 crore are second dose. The state is making all efforts to fully vaccinate all eligible persons. In this regard. I would like to make a few suggestions for your kind consideration."
The state health minister said that the present guidelines specify a gap of 12 weeks between two doses of Covishield vaccine. "Since the gap between two doses is quite long, it often causes difficulty in covering people with second dose. This difficulty is more pronounced in case of inter-state and intra-state migrant workers and persons from high-risk groups etc as they frequently tend to move out of the areas in which they received the first dose. Since the line lists on Co-WIN portal for second dose are generated according to CVC where first dose was received, it is difficult to track the persons for second dose in their present locations," he said.
Furthermore, Rao said that the long gap between doses also leads to people neglecting the second dose. "It may therefore be considered to reduce the period between two doses to 4-6 weeks as in the past. This will help further improve the second dose coverage," he said.
Rao said, "A period of more than 8-10 months has lapsed since the administration of second dose to healthcare workers, front line workers and persons from high-risk groups with efflux of time and emergence of new variants. The Government of India may consider providing for booster dose at least for the above-mentioned categories."
Meanwhile, India's COVID-19 vaccination coverage has crossed 126.44 crore (126,44,92,187) on Friday evening. (ANI)