AstraZeneca chief investigator backs India’s covishield dose plan

The chief investigator of the AstraZeneca vaccine clinical trials, Professor Andrew Pollard has backed the 12-16 week gap between the two doses of Covishield in India. He is the Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group as well as a Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at Oxford University in the UK.

He added that the level of protection provided by one dose of the preventive increases greatly in the second and third months after the jab.

The immunization policy in Britain and India need not be compared due to the different circumstances in both countries, the chief said in an interview with The Wire.

He stated, “An immunization policy that aims to vaccinate the largest number of people in the quickest possible time with at least one dose makes sense in the present circumstances in India.” The country where majority of the population remains unvaccinated is not protected at a time when the Delta variant is “a widely spreading and increasing threat.” The Delta variant was first identified in India.

He further explained that AstraZeneca does not work on a single-dose vaccine. One dose may be good but the second dose is vital to boost protection. However, his group is not working on a third jab since it may not be necessary.

He continued that in a situation of vaccine shortage, to ensure a measure of protection for the widest number of people instead of a smaller group is understandable. The UK only reduced the gap between two vaccine doses after a large part of the country’s population had already been vaccinated.

“What we need to focus on is a high level of continuing protection against serious illness and hospitalization,” the chief investigator said.

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