Vaccination for people above 18 years kick-started in India on May 1 with an aim to protect the people currently facing the most risks from the COVID pandemic. The government has made two vaccines available for the public- Covaxin and Covishield. Currently, the government has not allowed people to choose which vaccine they want to get, however, people who choose to get vaccinated at private centers can opt for their preferred vaccine.
So, before you get vaccinated, here is everything you need to know about both the vaccines:
Covishield is developed by the Oxford-AstraZeneca which is manufactured by Serum Institute of India, Pune. Whereas, Covaxin is manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).
How are they made?
Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine, which has been prepared on a tried and tested platform of dead viruses. It makes use of a dead virus that drafts an immune response. These conventional vaccines have been in use for decades now. There are vaccines for some other diseases as well which are made using the same technology. These diseases are –
- Seasonal influenza
- Pertussis, and
- Japanese encephalitis
Meanwhile, Covishield is a viral vector vaccine that uses an adenovirus found in Chimpanzees, ChAD0x1, to deliver spike proteins and mount a tolerable immune response in response to a live virus.
How effective are the vaccines?
As per interim results and clinical studies, Covaxin has an efficacy of over 78%. Additionally, there has also been clinical evidence that suggests that Covaxin could reduce severity and mortality risk by a whopping 100 percent.
Covishield has recorded an overall efficacy of 70 percent, but it can be over 90 percent if administered as a half dose followed by a full dose a month later.
There is no difference between the two vaccines in terms of dosage. Both of them follow a two-dose regimen. The second dose schedule for Covaxin is 4 to 6 weeks (28 to 48 days) after the first dose. For Covishield, it is 6 to 8 weeks (42 to 56 days) after the first dose.
Are there any side effects?
Minor side-effects can be seen post-vaccination for both vaccines.
Some immediate symptoms that may occur include
– Pain and swelling at the site of the injection
– Body ache
– Abdominal pain
– Nausea and vomiting
– Cold and cough
No other vaccine-related serious adverse effects have been reported.
Some mild symptoms that may occur include
– Pain and tenderness at the site of injection site
– Myalgia (muscle pain)
– Malaise (Generalised weakness)
– Pyrexia (fever)
– Arthralgia (joint pain)
In very rare cases, neurological complications (demyelinating disorders) have been reported following vaccination with this vaccine.
Covaxin vs Covishield: Which Is Better?
There is no head-to-head comparison data available for these vaccines in India. Both vaccines work fine in preventing the infection and lowering the risk of getting a serious infection (if infected in the future). The key aim is to prevent death in elderly people and those with comorbid conditions such as diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease, etc.