In light of the detection of Indian variant of Covid-19, which is officially called B.1.617.2, in countries such as South Africa, Brazil and others, UK has decided to accelerate its vaccination drive and reduce the gap between two vaccine doses. In a press conference held on Friday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the time period between two vaccine doses for above 50s and clinically vulnerable will be reduced to 8 weeks, rather than 12 weeks. He emphasised that UK is “likely to face some hard choices” that can pose “significant distruption’ to easing the lockdown.
UK’s decision to reduce the waiting time between two vaccine doses comes at a time when India has gone ahead to extend the gap between 2 doses of Covishield from 4-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks for better results, thereby raising questions on the efficacy and logic behind the difference.
It is also speculated that the Indian government’s decision to extend the gap between two vaccine doses is to mask and cope with the vaccine shortage in the country. Several states have reported a shortage of Covid-19 vaccine while several vaccine centres have been shut, causing inconvenience to the general public, who have been trying hard to secure a vaccine appointment as soon as possible.
Amid the vaccine shortage, the government of India has shared its mega plan of vaccinating each citizen by end of the year. After Covaxin and Covishield, the regulating authorities have also approved Sputnik V for emergency use. Other vaccine contenders, which are expected to enter the Indian market soon, include Bio E, Zydus Cadila, BB Nasal, Genova and SII-Novavax.