COVISHIELD Photograph:( Reuters )
The Centre had on May 13 extended the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks
The Union health ministry on Sunday clarified that already booked online appointments for the second dose of Covishield vaccine will remain valid and the same will not be cancelled on Co-WIN platform.
It, however, said requisite changes have now been done in the Co-WIN digital portal, as a result of which further online or on-site appointments will not be possible if the period after the first dose date for a beneficiary is less than 84 days.
The Centre had on May 13 extended the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks based on the recommendations by the COVID Working Group chaired by N K Arora.
"The Government of India has communicated this change to states and UTs. The Co-WIN digital portal has also been reconfigured to reflect this extension of interval for two doses of Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) to 12-16 weeks," the ministry said.
"However, there have been reports in a section of the media suggesting that people who had pre-booked their appointments for the second dose in less than 84 days on Co-WIN are being turned back from vaccination centres without getting the second dose of Covishield," it said.
"Additionally, already booked online appointments for second dose of Covishield will remain valid and are not being cancelled by Co-WIN. Further, the beneficiaries are advised to reschedule their appointments for a later date beyond the 84th day from the date of first dose of vaccination," the ministry added.
The Union government has reiterated to the states/UTs that online appointments booked for the second dose of Covishield prior to this change of the interval between the two doses of Covishield, must be honoured.
It advised the states/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 asked to undertake awareness activities to inform the beneficiaries about this change.