Days after a government panel recommended that those recovering from Covid-19 should delay getting vaccinated for six to nine months, Indian Medical Association (IMA) president Dr JA Jayalal has said that such a delay may put people at risk.

“There is a conflict as to when should people recovering from Covid get vaccinated. Making them wait for six months holds a threat of exposing them to the virus,” Jayalal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The doctor was speaking about the need for ramping up the vaccination drive to protect people against the third wave of the infection.

“Only way forward is vaccination. If we are not pushing for mass vaccination, it is not safe to face the third wave that is bound to occur. Mass vaccination has to be done. The Centre must procure a maximum number of vaccines and decentralise the process, even to the level of door-to-door vaccination,” he said.

“We should expedite the process and within a few months we should complete our target of 60-70% vaccination,” said Jayalal.

He further said that any extension between vaccination doses should be done with scientific evidence.

“The government should come out with an objective for everyone in this country getting vaccinated at the earliest so that we will be able to have a Covid-free India in the near future,” he said.

Government panel advisory

Dr Jayalal’s statement comes days after the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) stated that those having laboratory test proven SARS-CoV-2 illness should defer Covid-19 vaccination for six months after recovery.

Separately, the government has also widened the gap between two doses of Serum Institute of India’s Covidshield vaccine to 12-16 weeks from four to eight, amid a crippling shortage of vaccines.

The decision was taken after the NTAGI’s advisory.

With limited vaccine availability and soaring infections, the expert panel chose to cover a wider section of India’s population rather than providing booster doses to a smaller slice.

The shortage of vaccines has prompted some states to temporarily halt inoculations for the 18-44 age group, while some others are trying to procure vaccines directly from overseas manufacturers.

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