Vaccines running out of stocks in India will make massive vaccine drive ineffective and it is anticipated that India may end up wasting millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses if the second dose is not administered because it is the second dose that really kicks off the immunity as per medical reports. Many states in India have stated that they are unable to give the second jab on May 1st as previously planned because there are no vaccines.
Many states, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Haryana, Odisha, Jharkhand, and West Bengal, and others have decided to implement free vaccines to the people in their own states. 600 million more people in India will become eligible for getting the COVID-19 vaccine on May 1. 40 million people will be eligible for their second dose and that number would grow each day, adding over 65 million people by the end of May.
According to government guidelines, the second dose needs to be administered within four to eight weeks of the first dose. But if the second dose cannot be administered in time, India may end up wasting millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses if there are no second shots. Dr. Sarkar stated as per government guidelines that said that the second dose of Covishield should be administered “not later than the stipulated period of 8 weeks.” The vaccine if not administered in time may become ineffective.
On the other hand, a Lancet study has shown that a longer interval may boost the vaccine’s efficacy, the study itself recommended a 12-week interval between doses. Moreover, the vaccines presently in use are those that have been given emergency approval and it is wise to err on the side of caution especially with new variants of the virus developing.
“With Covaxin, they state that the interval should be four weeks. With Covishield, as per their trial data, even they said four weeks. Then, based on certain experiences in the UK, it was stretched to six weeks,” said Sarkar. “Now, because of the irregularity in supply, it is anybody’s guess… By and large, we are afraid if it stretches beyond eight weeks or so, then will the two-dose concept still remain valid? There is no data.”
It is advised that in order to guarantee that people who already have the first dose do not get shifted behind in the queue, the Indian government should organize separate counters and dedicated slots for people who are eligible for the second dose.
However, with vaccines running out, India will have to rely on preventive methods, building immunity, masking, distancing and isolation and good healthy diets and God. After all, what can one do, but try their best and hope for the best in such a situation!
Somewhere, the government miscalculated and misled the people too when the Health Minister stated there is no shortage of vaccines in India and there are plenty of vaccines to innoculate the whole nation. Downplaying and misleading has also led to a national medical calamity and his recent statement that India’s COVID fatality rate is the “lowest in the world” at 1.11 percent once again disregarded the agony the nation was undergoing. When cemeteries and crematoriums were overflowing with no space and mass burials and cremations happening at the same spots, it was a “heartless and insensitive” statement to utter at that point, as many citizens in India expressed.
Vaccines running out of stocks