Kochi, Aug 26 (PTI) The Centre on Thursday told the Kerala High Court that the 84-day gap between two doses of COVISHIELD was fixed to increase the efficacy of the vaccine, as recommended by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) and was also based on the technical inputs provided by the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG).
The submission was made before Justice P B Suresh Kumar, who had on August 24, asked the central government whether the 84-day gap between two doses of COVISHIELD was based on availability of the vaccine or its efficacy.
The query had come during hearing a plea by Kitex Garments Ltd, represented by advocate Blaze K Jose, seeking permission to administer the second dose of COVISHIELD vaccine to its workers without having to wait for 84 days.
Speaking to PTI, advocate Blaze K Jose said that already 60-70 days have elapsed since administration of the first dose to the company workers.
During the hearing, he also told the court that the Human Resources Manager of the company, through whom the plea has been filed, has now tested positive for COVID-19 while awaiting permission for the second dose.
The central government, during the hearing, told the court that all the decisions regarding the vaccination program are taken by NEGVAC and technical inputs are given by NITAG.
It further said that “based on the recommendation of NEGVAC, the schedule of COVISHIELD vaccination, under the national COVID-19 program, was to administer the second dose after 12 to 16 weeks. i.e. after 84 days from the first dose”.
“This provides the best protection against COVID-19,” the Centre claimed and added that the decision was taken based on efficacy and not availability of the vaccine.
After hearing both sides, the court listed the matter on Friday at 1.45 pm.
The court, during the hearing, also said that the state government’s decision to vaccinate those going abroad with two doses of the vaccine without adhering to the 84-day gap requirement was an illegality and the benefit of that cannot be given to the petitioner company.
Kitex in its plea said that it has already vaccinated more than 5,000 of its workers with the first dose and has arranged for the second dose at a cost of nearly Rs 93 lakh, but was unable to administer the same due to the prevailing restrictions.
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