Those suffering from COVID-19 as well as those who have contracted it after taking the first vaccine dose should go for the jabs three months after fully recovering from the disease, the Union health ministry said on Wednesday.
Also, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all lactating women and an individual can donate blood after 14 days of either receiving anti-coronavirus shot or testing RT-PCR negative, if suffering from the disease.
These decisions were taken by the ministry based on the fresh recommendations by The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) and have also been communicated to the states and union territories, an official statement said.
These recommendations have been based on the evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and emerging global scientific evidence and experience, the ministry said.
COVID-19 vaccination should be deferred by three months after recovery in individuals having lab test proven SARS-CoV-2 individuals having lab test proven SARS-2 COVID-19 illness, according to the statement. Also, vaccination in COVID-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma to be deferred by three months from the date of discharge from the hospital.
In case of individuals who have received at least the first dose and got COVID-19 infection before completion of the dosing schedule, the second dose should be deferred by three months after clinical recovery from COVID-19 illness, the health ministry said in the statement.
People with any other serious general illness requiring hospitalisation or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, it is advisable to receive the both the doses irrespective of past history of COVID infection as this will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease.
The COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all lactating women. There is no requirement for screening of the vaccine recipients by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) prior to COVID-19 vaccination, the statement said.
Regarding vaccination of pregnant women, the matter is under discussion and further deliberation by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), it said.
The ministry which has accepted the recommendations of the NEGVAC has written to states and union territories to direct the officials concerned to take note of these recommendations and undertake necessary action for their effective implementation. States have been advised to ensure effective dissemination of the information to service provides as well as the general public, through use of all channels of information and communication in the local languages, the statement said.
States have also been advised to undertake training of the vaccination staff at all levels.