Third COVID vaccine will not be mix-match : Union Health Ministry

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Precaution doses or third dose will be the same vaccine a person has taken be it Covishield or Covaxin, informs Centre

New Delhi : As the country is to begin administering precautionary or third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for healthcare, frontline workers and senior citizens from January 10. The Union Health Ministry Wednesday announced that there will be no mix-and-match of vaccines for the crucial third dose to be given in view of the Omicron variant that is rapidly spreading in the country.

“The precautionary COVID vaccine dose to be given to healthcare and frontline workers, and those over 60 with co-morbidities will be the same as that administered in the first two doses,” Dr VK Paul, Head of India’s COVID task force, said Wednesday.

Precaution doses will be a third dose of the same vaccine a person has taken be it Covishield or Covaxin. The third dose will be administered nine months i.e. 39 weeks from the date of administration of second dose to health and frontline workers and senior citizens with co-morbidities.

With an ongoing debate over mixing vaccines or continuing with the same vaccine for the third dose offers better protection, the Union Health Ministry informed that there will be no mix-match of vaccines will be allowed for third dose or precautionary dose .

According to Union Health Ministry, India has reported more than 6.3 times increase in COVID cases in the last eight days. A sharp increase seen in case positivity from 0.79 percent on 29th Dec 2021 to 5.03 percent as of today.

The states of concern are Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Gujarat where there has been a rise in cases. More than 10 percent weekly positivity is reported in 28 districts in the country.

“Omicron is the predominant circulating strain in the cities in the country, mass gatherings to be avoided to lower the speed of this spread,” said Dr Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR.

The Union Health Ministry also informed that quarantine period for home isolation patients reduced to seven days from 14 days in Delhi, as per Ministry of Health guidelines. In these seven days, if a patient doesn’t have any symptoms for three consecutive days, then the patient can be discharged from home isolation without COVID test.

Further added that there is no need for retesting after the home isolation period is over. Asymptomatic contacts of infected individuals need not undergo COVID test and monitor health in home quarantine.