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No Single-Shot Covishield or Mixing of Vaccines Yet, Whole Population to be Inoculated by Dec: Centre

New Delhi: Mixing of vaccines is not the protocol yet and same shots (either Covishield or Covaxin) have to be administered for doses, the Centre said on Tuesday. Covishield will not be changed to a single-shot schedule and “there is no question” of mixing vaccines till scientifically proven, the government said. “Covishield will have two doses and there is no change and this schedule will remain… About mixing of vaccines, until scientifically proven, there is no question of mixing and won’t be followed,” Dr VK Paul, the government’s top coronavirus adviser, said at a news briefing. Also Read – Close to Commit Over $1 Billion to Moderna for COVID-19 Booster Vaccine: Cipla to Govt

The clarifications came after government sources, on the condition of anonymity, told reporters that tests on mixing vaccines and the effectiveness of a single dose of Covishield will begin soon in the government’s new strategy at a time the shortage of COVID-19 shots has slowed down vaccinations. They said a study on mixing two different vaccines will start in a month and will likely be completed in two to three months. Also Read – Lucknow Man Says No Antibody Developed Even After Taking Covid Vaccine, Files Police Complaint

The low-key announcements divided opinion on public forums where many suggested the measures were aimed more at mitigating the vaccine shortage widely blamed on the centre’s move to not order enough doses in due time last year. VK Paul, NITI Aayog member and the head of India’s Covid task force, had said in-depth research was needed to check whether mixing vaccines is effective.

The government also said that it expects to have the entire population vaccinated by the end of the year and announced plans to procure over 200 crore doses by the end of the year. “There is no shortage of vaccine. By mid-July or August, we will have enough doses to vaccinate 1 crore people per day. We are confident of vaccinating the whole population by December,” said Dr Balram Bhargava, ICMR.

Covishield, developed by pharma giant AstraZeneca and and made by Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin are the two main shots used in the nationwide vaccination drive that started in January. Russia’s Sputnik is the third vaccine to be cleared for use.

(With inputs from agency)

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