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No scientific proof to back move, only a cover-up for crunch: Docs

No scientific proof to back move, only a cover-up for crunch: Docs

KOLKATA: The Centre's decision to change and increase the gap between two doses of Covishield in quick succession has triggered outrage among the doctors fraternity.

Various doctors' organisations, including the Indian Medical Association (IMA), said there was no scientific reasoning that backs the extension of the gap from 6-8 weeks to 12-16 weeks. Initially, the Centre recommended that a second dose of Covishield should be administered at a gap of four weeks. Later, the gap was extended up to six-eight weeks. Now, the interval between two doses has been further increased. City doctors have said frequent changes in the decision have been triggering an adverse reaction among the people. The Union Health ministry has extended the gap between the first and second doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks from six-eight weeks on the recommendation of a seven-member Covid Working Group.

IMA state secretary Dr Santanu Sen said: "We have not yet received any scientific proof or journal report which endorses the Centre's move to extend the gap between doses. We, therefore, apprehend that they have done it after failing to supply adequate amounts of doses to various states. This is a move by the Centre to buy time and cover up their failure. They are also trying to fool the people of the country in this manner,"

Dr Sen further added: "We have not received any international authentic proof which establishes the fact that the extension of the gap between the two doses is for the betterment of the people. If the Centre has any scientific evidence they must publish it. We don't even know whether the vaccine would work if the gap between two doses is extended up to 12-16 weeks as we have no specific proof yet. It does not matter to them (Centre) whether people die in large numbers."

"National Covid Task Force did not hold a meeting until April when it existed as it was published in the medical journal The Lancet. What is the point behind forming another committee and taking its recommendation?" Dr Sen asked.

Services Doctors' Forum (SDF), another organisation of doctors in the state, also criticised the decision by the Centre to change the gap in quick successions.

"We condemn the decision of the Centre to change the gap between two doses as it triggers confusion among the people. In the beginning, the vaccine was applied before the trial was over. During that time also, confusion prevailed. The Centre has not taken any decision on a scientific basis. Instead, it chose to gain some political mileage out of this. The Centre has been handing over the order of vaccine to corporate hands like Reliance which is condemnable," said Dr Sajal Biswas, General Secretary of SDF.

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