NEW DELHI :
India’s top vaccine advisory body has sought laboratory data and more evidence from Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore which is conducting a study on mixing covid-19 vaccines Covaxin and Covishield, a person aware of the development said.
Recently, CMC Vellore submitted preliminary findings of the study to the National Technical Advisory Group On Immunization (NTAGI), which makes vaccine recommendations after reviewing data on disease burden, efficacy and cost effectiveness.
“We have reviewed the preliminary data and we realized there is need of more laboratory-based evidence. CMC Vellore is working on it and they have asked for at least six weeks to submit the laboratory data,” the person cited above said on condition of anonymity.
Under India’s vaccine mixing protocol, an individual who is fully vaccinated with vaccine ‘A’ receives a booster dose of vaccine ‘B’, and vice versa. Last year, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) permitted CMC Vellore to conduct the study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of covid vaccine mixing.
Queries emailed to the spokespersons of CMC Vellore and the union health ministry remained unanswered at press time.
Globally, around 33 vaccines have been approved for mix-and-match, while India is still working on the protocol.
Meanwhile, India’s active covid-19 cases have fallen below 15,000 after nearly two years of the pandemic. India has been witnessing a steady decline in daily infections, with 1,233 cases reported in the past 24 hours.
“India’s active caseload declines to 14,704, less than 15,000 after 707 days,” the health ministry said.
According to the ministry, around 1,876 patients recovered in the last 24 hours taking the cumulative figure of recovered patients to 42.4 million. The health ministry said India’s cumulative covid-19 vaccination coverage has crossed 1.83 billion, with over 15 milion doses administered to 12-14 year olds.
As many as 22,8 million individuals have been vaccinated with the third or the booster dose so far. Meanwhile, the Centre has provided over 1.84 billion vaccine doses to states and union territories.
India has so far reported about 43 million covid-19 infections, with the death toll at 5.21 lakh, as per World Health Organization (WHO).
The government has also allowed precaution or booster dose for all population above the age of 60 years, healthcare workers and front line workers.
Mint on 22 March reported about a senior expert at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) coming out against the government policy of mixing covid-19 vaccine doses, warning that in case of an adverse event it will be very difficult to establish which vaccine caused it.
Dr Sanjay Rai, professor of community medicine at AIIMS said, “At this point of time, mixing of vaccines is completely irrational. We are using covid19 vaccines for the first time and to mix two drugs we need to have the long-term scientific evidence. “