The Union government on Monday wrote to states and Union Territories to increase the interval between two doses of Covishield vaccine to four to eight weeks. This comes after the recommendations by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) during its 20th meeting. During this meeting, the government said that the recommendation has been revised to provide a second dose of Covishield at an interval of four to eight weeks after the first dose, instead of the earlier practised interval of four to six weeks. The government has clarified that the decision about the revised time interval between two doses is applicable only to Covishield and not to Covaxin. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the Chief Secretaries of states and Union Territories on Monday, noting that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has accepted the recommendations of NTAGI and NEGVAC and has thereafter advised states and Union Territories to ensure the administration of the second dose of Covishield to beneficiaries within this stipulated time interval of four to eight weeks after first dose. “Keeping the existing scientific evidence in view, it appears that protection is enhanced if the second dose of COVISHIELD is administered between six to eight weeks, but not later than stipulated period of 8 weeks,” the Health Ministry said. The Union Health Secretary has also urged the states and UTs to instruct the concerned officials accordingly to undertake necessary steps to inform programme managers, vaccinators and recipients of Covishield vaccine of the revised dosing interval and ensure adherence of the revised dosing interval. On Monday, as per government data, the total vaccination coverage in India crossed the 4.5-crore mark. More than 4,50,65,998 vaccine doses have been administered through 7,33,597 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am on Monday.