The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said vaccination can now be deferred by three months after clinical recovery from the infection. The government further said if an individual is infected with coronavirus after the first dose, the second dose should be also deferred by three months after recovering from the infection.
There will be no requirement for screening of vaccine recipients by a Rapid Antigen Test kit prior to vaccination against Covid-19, it further said.
The fresh rules are part of the recommendations by NEGVAC (the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19), which have been accepted by the Union health ministry.
The expert panel also recommended inoculation of all lactating women. NEGVAC is providing guidance to the government on prioritisation of population groups, procurement and inventory management, vaccine selection, and vaccine delivery and tracking mechanism.
These recommendations have been based on the evolving situation of the Covid-19 pandemic and emerging global scientific evidence and experience, the ministry said.
Covid-19 vaccination should be deferred by three months after recovery in individuals having lab tests proven SARS-CoV-2 illness, according to the statement.
Also, vaccination in Covid-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma to be deferred by three months from the date of discharge from the hospital.
In the case of individuals who have received at least the first dose and got Covid-19 infection before completion of the dosing schedule, the second dose should be deferred by three months after clinical recovery from Covid-19 illness, the health ministry said in the statement.
People with any other serious general illness requiring hospitalization or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the Covid-19 vaccine, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, it is advisable to receive both doses irrespective of past history of Covid-19 infection as this will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease.
The 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, the statement said.
Regarding vaccination of pregnant women, the matter is under discussion and further deliberation by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), it said.
The ministry which has accepted the recommendations of the NEGVAC has written to states and union territories to direct the officials concerned 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, the statement said.
States have also been advised to undertake the training of the vaccination staff at all levels.
With PTI inputs