With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc in India, one of the most effective defence mechanisms is vaccination. Unless there is mass vaccination, the pandemic will continue to come in waves and create tremendous devastation. Thankfully, the third phase of the vaccination drive has been announced in India and everyone above the age of 18 years can now get vaccinated. There are primarily two vaccines being administered in India – Covishield and Covaxin. If you are wondering which one to choose, we have some helpful data for you. Take a look and then decide which one is better suited for you.
Covid Vaccines in India
Currently, India has two vaccines. The first one is the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, Covishield. It is being manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India. The other one is the indigenous Covaxin, manufactured by Bharat Biotech. Both vaccines have a high success rate and are given across the country. Both the vaccines are administered intramuscularly.
Properties of the vaccines
While you may not be able to choose between the two vaccines once you arrive for your jab appointment, you can choose the one you wish to go for when booking your appointment on the COWIN portal. The properties of the vaccines are as explained:
- Covaxin –
According to the manufacturers, Covaxin implements the Whole-Virion Inactivated Vero Cell-derived technology. Here, an inactive virus is injected into the recipient’s body. While this virus is incapable of infecting the person, it is capable of training the immune system on how to fight an active virus, if it enters the body. Covaxin has an efficacy of over 78%, which is pretty impressive in a large country like India.
- Covishield –
The Covishield vaccine works on a different mechanism – the viral vector method. Here, an active, but harmless virus is injected into the body. It mimics the main illness and the body produces pathogens that keep the body prepared to fight the active, harmful COVID viruses in the future. It has an efficacy of around 82%.
Source: The Hindu
The World Health Organisation states that any vaccine that has an efficacy of over 50% is a powerful measure to control a pandemic, and in this respect, both Covaxin, as well as Covishield, prove to be effective.
Both the Indian vaccines, Covishield as well as Covaxin, are given in double-doses. You can get the second dose of Covaxin after 28 of receiving the first dose. However, it is preferable to wait for 8-12 weeks between the two doses of Covishield.
Mild to moderate side effects post-vaccination have been noted in recipients receiving both the COVID vaccines in India. These side-effects include fever, fatigue, soreness around the jab area, body ache and headache. The symptoms however are mild and subside within a day or two.
The WHO informs that experiencing a vaccine side-effect is normal and you should not panic if you notice these conditions after you get vaccinated.
Production and manufacturers’ reputation
Currently, the vaccines are produced on a very large scale in India. Unfortunately, the numbers are still falling short, given the vast population of India. However, both Bharat BioTech and Serum Institute are working round the clock to ramp up the production. SII’s Adar Poonawala was recently quoted saying that SII received an order of 26 crore vaccine vials from the government. It has already delivered 15 crore vials and is working on producing the remaining 11 crore doses at the earliest. On the other hand, Bharat BioTech has received an order of 5 crore vaccine doses from the government. To fully vaccinate the entire population of the country, 60 crore doses would be needed.
The Serum Institute and Bharat BioTech are both highly reputed virology institutes in the country. They have successfully manufactured important vaccines in the past and this gives hope to the countrymen about the effectiveness of COVID vaccines too.
Table of comparison
|Developed by||Bharat Biotech ICMR||Serum Institute of India|
|Type||Whole-Virion Inactivated Vero Cell-derived technology||Viral-Vector Technology|
|Dose||2 doses, at a preferred interval of 4 weeks||2 doses, at a prefered interval of between 8 and 12 weeks.|
|Storage requirements||To be stored between 2 degrees and 8 degrees Celsius||To be stored between 2 degrees and 8 degrees Celsius|
|Administration||Given on the left hand, intermuscular||Given on the left hand, intermuscular|
|Cost||Rs 150 for the Central Government, Rs 400 for State Government and Rs 1200 for a private hospital.||Rs 150 for the Central Government, Rs 300 for State Government and Rs 600 for a private hospital.|
Though launched with a lot of promise, the vaccination drive in India is struggling presently. There is a massive shortage of vaccines and getting an appointment is very difficult. It, therefore, is advisable for you to opt for the vaccine that is available at the earliest slot. Both the vaccines, Covisheild as well as Covaxin, have shown positive results, and since combating the pandemic is the main issue right now, getting vaccinated is the best option.
FAQs about the vaccines in India
- Can I take one dose of Covaxin and another dose of Covishield?
No, you cannot take one dose of each vaccine. As stated, Covaxin and Covishield work on two different mechanisms, so you need to take the same vaccine on both occasions.
- How are the vaccines stored? Covaxin and Covishield?
Both Covaxin, as well as Covishield, need to be stored at temperatures between 2 degrees and 8 degrees celsius, which is equivalent to the temperature of a regular household fridge.
- Who shouldn’t take Covaxin/Covishield?
While both the vaccines are very safe, you should speak to your doctor before taking it if you:
- Are pregnant
- A nursing mother
- Have a severe allergic condition
- What is the price of each?
Covishield is charged at Rs 150 for the Central Government, Rs 300 for the State Government and Rs 600 for a private hospital while Covaxin is charged at Rs 150 for the Central Government, Rs 400 for the State Government and Rs 1200 for a private hospital.
- Can I take one dose of Covaxin and another dose of Covishield?
- COVAXIN – India’s First Indigenous Covid-19 Vaccine | Bharat Biotech
- Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccines (who.int)
- How many Covishield and Covaxin doses has India ordered? — Quartz India (qz.com)
- The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: what you need to know (who.int)
- Covaxin vs Covishield: Comparison of two vaccines approved for emergency use in India | Health Tips and News (timesnownews.com)