There is, however, no requirement for screening of the Covid-19 vaccine recipients by rapid antigen test (RAT)

The Union Health Ministry on Wednesday said vaccination needs to be deferred by three months after clinical recovery from a Covid-19 infection.

Accepting the recommendations of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), the government further said if an individual is infected with coronavirus after the first dose, the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine should also be deferred by three months after recovering from the infection.

A similar gap has now been prescribed for SARS-2 COVID-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma. COVID-19 vaccination for such persons will need to be deferred by 3 months from the date of discharge from the hospital.

The expert panel had also recommended inoculation of all lactating women and this has been accepted by the health ministry.

NEGVAC is providing guidance to the government on prioritisation of population groups, procurement and inventory management, vaccine selection and vaccine delivery and tracking mechanism.

The health ministry said that an individual can donate blood after 14 days of either receipt of COVID-19 vaccine or testing RT-PCR negative, if suffering from COVID-19 disease.

There is no requirement for screening of the vaccine recipients by rapid antigen test (RAT) prior to COVID-19 vaccination.

Regarding COVID-19 vaccination of pregnant women, the matter is under discussion and further deliberation by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).

Persons with any other serious general illness requiring hospitalization or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Union Health Ministry has written to States and Union Territories (UTs)to direct the concerned officials 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 providers as well as the general public, through use of all channels of information and communication in the local languages. States have also been advised to undertake training of the vaccination staff at all levels.

So far, over 18.57 crore doses of vaccines have been administered against coronavirus since the beginning of the drive on January 16.

The Health Ministry said 64,60,624 beneficiaries in the age group of 18-44 years across 36 states and union territories have received their first doses since the start of the third phase of the vaccination drive on May 1.