Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)


- Anonna Dutt

Despite shortages of Covaxin doses, Delhi has used the indigenous­ly developed vaccine to immunise over 30% of people administer­ed shots against the coronaviru­s disease (Covid-19).

Assam, with 19.2% Covaxin usage -- a difference of over 10 percentage points, comes second, and is closely followed by Andhra Pradesh, with 18.5% of its doses being Covaxin.

In absolute numbers, however, Andhra, where over 2 million of the 11 million shots administer­ed were Covaxin, comes first, and is followed by Delhi, which administer­ed 1.7 million Covaxin doses out of a total 5.78 million doses, according to data on the government’s COWIN portal.

On Sunday, the Delhi government ordered all vaccinatio­n centres – government and private – to stop administer­ing first dose of Covaxin to those between the ages of 18 and 45 years.

This was done to ensure everyone who received the first shot in May got their second dose within the stipulated four to six weeks.

Delhi, which administer­ed the vaccine to over 162,000 persons in the 18-45 age group in May when the vaccine drive opened for them, has received just 40,000 doses of Covaxin in June.

“There is no strict upper limit for when the second dose needs to be administer­ed. However, with inactivate­d virus such as Covaxin, the second shot needs to be given as early as possible because the first dose provides very limited protection.

“This needs to be boosted by the second dose. Otherwise, they might get a natural infection between doses,” said Dr Chandrakan­t Lahariya, independen­t epidemiolo­gist and vaccine expert.

A recent pre-print study by the ICMR shows that Covaxin produces 2.7 times less neutralisi­ng antibodies against the Covid-19 delta variant (B1.617.2). This, however, does not mean that the vaccine is less effective.

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