What happens if the gap between two COVID-19 vaccine doses exceeds?


The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is here. With the number of positive cases rising every day, the only respite at the moment is the vaccination drive that has started. Despite that, it has been hard to get both doses given the supply shortage. This is why, the best way to keep yourself safe from COVID-19 is to follow all the measures and practise social distancing

If you are someone who has been administered the first dose of the vaccine and are trying to schedule an appointment to book the second dose — but are also afraid that you will miss the stipulated time interval between the doses — Dr K S Satish, senior consultant, pulmonology & chest medicine, Fortis Hospitals, Cunningham Road allays your fears.

What is the requirement for two doses of vaccines?

Vaccines help to build immunity and thereby reduce the probability of infection. The dosage and the duration between shots depend on the vaccine and the virus. “As for Covid-19 vaccines, research shows that one dose is not sufficient to build enough antibodies. After the second dose, there was a good immune response” explains Dr K S Satish.

How much gap is ideal between both vaccines? 

The gap between each vaccine dose depends a lot on the vaccines themselves. This is because the time intervals between dosages are decided based on the time for the immune system to generate antibodies with an increased affinity for the antigen.

Dr Satish says “Each vaccine has its own ideal time between dosages. The preferred time between the vaccines for the Covishield vaccine is 6 to 8 weeks. It can go to 12 weeks as well. Covaxin, on the other hand, can be taken after 28 days.”

What happens if one exceeds the gap? Are there any side effects, or will the first vaccine dose be of no impact?

It is always better to follow the ideal gap recommended by each vaccine manufacturer for the best antibody response. However, there are no side effects even if one exceeds the recommended interval. “If the interval exceeds by more than one to two weeks after the recommended period, then the antibody response might not be as strong as expected” he adds.

Having said that there is no need to start the vaccination cycle again. The first dose of the vaccine will have an impact on your body. Dr Satish suggests, “try to take to second shot as soon as possible without starting a new cycle after missing the recommended interval.”

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