Talking about the present situation, India has over 1.1 crore active COVID-19 cases. But it can be notably said that India has successfully handled the pandemic. Two of India’s most renowned companies have created vaccines to assure India’s victory over the pandemic. Covaxin and Covishield are the two vaccines made by India. The former is made by Bharat Biotech and is developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The latter one is developed by the Serum Institute of India PVT. LTD (SII). There are many countries where India has supplied the vaccine. The question is Covaxin or Covishield?
After the vaccination of healthcare workers in the first phase, the second phase has begun. It will cover senior citizens and selected people over the age of 45 with comorbidities—their innumerable myths and adverse reactions that may scare people from getting vaccinated against COVID-19. So is it Covaxin or Covishield? Which one is better? Let us have a look at how true are these myths.
Differences In The Vaccines
1. Types Of Vaccine
Covishield is based on the viral vector platform. A chimpanzee adenovirus called ChAdOx1 is the vector that has been modified to carry the coronavirus spike protein to human cells. The same adenovirus vector platform gained traction during the battle to stop ebola. On the other hand, Covaxin is based on an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virion. It is an old platform that is used to make polio vaccines. A virus’s disease-producing capacity is immobilized under this method.
2. The Number Of Doses
Both Covishield and Covaxin follow a 2-dose vaccination regimen that is given 28 days apart. The Union Health Ministry has ordered to give the second dose of the vaccine after 28 days from the first dose.
3. Delivery Route
Whatever vaccine you take Covaxin or Covishield, both are intramuscular injections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already taken the first dose of the COVID vaccine.
4. The Age Group Beneficiaries
Covishield has been for people aged 18 years and above, while Covaxin has been approved for those 12 years and above. To date, there is no clarity on whether children and pregnant women can be given the vaccines.
Serum Institute’s vaccine is said to have 62% efficacy in phase-3 clinical trials. Two full doses will be administered in India. Bharat Biotech said on March 3, that its Covaxin was 81% effective in preventing COVID-19 after the third round of clinical trials.
Both the vaccines do not require sub-zero storage, no reconstitution requirements, and are ready to use at around 2-8 degrees Celsius. It is the temperature of household refrigerators.
Both Covaxin and Covishield are ‘Made in India’ vaccines. SII has an exclusive license from AstraZeneca-Oxford University to manufacture and distribute the vaccine to global emerging markets.
The vaccines are available free of cost at government hospitals and healthcare centers, whereas, for private health facilities, they will be charged at Rs. 250.
Who Should Not Take Covaxin?
The people who have any history of allergies, fever, bleeding disorder or are on thinner blood, are immune-compromised or are on a medication that affects the immune system, are pregnant, are breastfeeding, any other serious health-related issues, as determined by the vaccination officer should take Covaxin. Also, people who have taken any other anti-COVID vaccine should not take Covaxin.
Side-Effects Of Covaxin
Covaxin, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, uses an inactive platform of the virus. There are certain light side-effects that could occur post-vaccination. The mild side-effects include pain or swelling at the injection site, redness at the injection site or the whole arm, itching, stiffness in the arm, weakness in the injection arm, body ache, headache, fever, malaise, weakness, rashes, nausea, and vomiting. The company stated that there are slight chances that the vaccination could cause any severe allergic reactions. Signs of severe adverse reactions may include difficulty breathing, swelling of face and throat, fast heartbeat, rashes all over the body, and dizziness.
Who Should Be Careful About Covishield?
SII stated that if a person experiences a severe allergic reaction after the first dose of the vaccine, he should not take the second one. In addition to the exceptions, a pregnant lady or planning to conceive, or is lactating, should inform the healthcare provider before taking the vaccine. Again, those on blood-thinning medications should skip the Covishield vaccine. Similar to Covaxin, people who have taken any other anti-COVID vaccine should not take Covishield.
Side-Effects Of Covishield
Some of the Covishield vaccine’s most common side-effects include tenderness, warmth, pain, redness, itching, swelling, or bruising where the injection is given. It also includes feeling feverish, having headaches or joint aches. Severe side-effects include difficulty in breathing, coughing, nervous problems, and anaphylaxis. However, the severe side effects are stated to be rare but are equally possible.
Even though the severe effects are on the rarer side, there are certain protocols set up. Following these protocols within time could help the authorities handle the unpleasant side-effects in the right way and provide the medical attention it deserves. We must remember that the side-effects, including the severe ones, can be resolved if medical help is accessed in time. Milder side-effect break-down within 2-3 days of vaccination and do not require much attention.
Over 50 lakh people have registered on the Co-WIN portal since the window opened on 1st March 2021. Meanwhile, the government has permitted all the private hospitals to give the COVID vaccines if they adhere to the laid down norms. The government has also asked the states and union territories to utilize the optimum capacity of private hospitals impaneled under category three. To everyone’s surprise, the COVID-19 vaccine is said to cure other life-threatening diseases like cancer and even heart-related diseases. Covaxin or Covishield both vaccines are made in India and there are no major side effects for anyone.