Anger, confusion over changed Covishield dose duration
New Delhi, May 17: Ram Avtar Tyagi stood in a queue for an hour at a vaccination centre in north Delhi, only to be turned away and asked to return almost two months later.
"I was told that second dose cannot be given now as new guidelines have come into effect," the 55-year-old, who visited the Burari centre on Saturday, said.
While some like Tyagi were turned away from the vaccination centre, others were left confused after the Centre's directive came into effect to extend the gap between the two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks.
The Centre had on Thursday approved the extension following a recommendation from a government panel, saying it was a "science-based decision". The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, however, suggested no change for the dosage interval for Covaxin, the Health Ministry said.
Tyagi did not receive any message informing him about the new date.
"Authorities should send message to those who are scheduled to get their second jab this month so that people don't have to face unnecessary problem," he added.
The Health Ministry has conveyed it to the chief secretaries of all states and Union territories to instruct officials "to undertake necessary steps to widely disseminate the message of revised dosing interval amongst programme managers, vaccinators and recipients of Covishield vaccine and ensure adherence of revised dosing interval".
Gurgaon-based media professional Nikitha Phyllis, who is a patient of an autoimmune condition, expressed shock when she found out about the revised date.
"My doctor had put off my medication till I have taken both the Covishield vaccines. But with the increased gap, I simply cannot do without my medication for so long," Phyllis told PTI.
Earlier, the date for her second jab was on June 23, now she has to wait till August.
Delhi-based lawyer Mishika Singh was also in for a surprise when she logged in to the CoWIN portal to find slots for vaccination.
"My Covishield vaccination booking date has been revised (automatically) on the site itself. From 5th June to 27th July," Singh said.
Some also took to Twitter to vent their anger over the revised timeline.
Kumud Ranjan Choubey wondered if there were new guidelines, then why had the CoWIN portal allowed people to book slots.
The ministry had said "requisite changes are being carried out in the Co-WIN platform and would be separately communicated to the states/UTs". The platform started showing rescheduled dates from Saturday night.
Another Twitter user, Sahil Arora, said: "I got 1 dose of covishield on 8 May. My masters start in US in July-21 (sic). Now that the gap is 12-16 weeks, I will not be able to get a second dose."
Tagging the official handle of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Arora asked: "Can you please suggest the workaround for students in the same situation as me?"
A government official said those people whose vaccination was due this month would not be administered the vaccine and only be be given the dose according to the new guidelines.