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People infected with COVID-19 can defer vaccine shots by up to 9 months: Govt panel

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New Delhi, May 18: Those who test positive for COVID-19 should not go for vaccination for nine months after recovery, a government panel has recommended.

While the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has earlier suggested a six-month gap, the panel has now approached the government for approval for a longer gap of nine months.

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"We have recommended a vaccine 'sparing strategy' which includes a longer waiting period for the first dose for those who have tested Covid-19 positive," Economic Times quoted a senior government official as saying.

The panel has also suggested that pregnant and lactating women be made eligible for vaccination.

According to the Union Health Ministry's current protocol, the vaccine is to be taken four to eight weeks after recovery from a Covid infection and pregnant and lactating women are not to be administered the shots.

The recommendations come at a time many states have reported a shortage of vaccines and have said they will float global tenders to import them.

The recommendations of the advisory group will be sent to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).

The panel has rejected the proposal to routinely screen all vaccine recipients with rapid antigen testing before vaccination.

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