New Delhi: The government on Tuesday said mixing of COVID-19 vaccines is not the protocol yet and there is no change in the schedule of two-dose vaccines Covishield and Covaxin, amid reports that India is planning to start trials to test the feasibility of a regimen that uses two different jabs and the effectiveness of a single dose.
It said the standard operating procedure of administering the doses of the same vaccine should be followed.
Some media reports have claimed that India may begin trials "in a few weeks" to see if mixing two different COVID-19 vaccines can help boost the immune response to the virus.
Addressing a press conference, NITI Aayog (Health) member Dr V K Paul presented two scenarios on the mixing of Covid vaccines.
"On the one hand, it might be possible that mixing of vaccines can lead to bad reactions... On the other, science also indicates that mixing of vaccines could be useful and lead to an increase in immunity but a severe reaction and harm cannot be ruled out and therefore there is research going on in other countries.
"This is a scientific matter and till the time it does not get sorted, we will say it is an unresolved scientific question over which there is no change in our programme," he said.
"It is science's curiosity that will be settled by science and we will give the needed inputs in the process. Till then, there is no mixing of vaccines... our schedule is very clear. Please stick to the SOP that doses of the same vaccine are to be given. If a change is to be made, we will share it from the same platform," he added.
Paul said Covishield and Covaxin schedule in India is of two doses.
"First dose (of Covishield) and then, after 12 weeks, the second dose. There is absolutely no change. Covaxin also has a two-dose schedule. First dose and then second dose after 4-6 weeks. This schedule is being followed to take our vaccination schedule forward and no confusion must be created on this," he said.