The government has announced that all citizens above 18 can get Covid-19 vaccination from May 1. It also allowed sales of vaccines to private players. The registration process on the government’s CoWIN platform begins on April 28. Currently, the government-sponsored drive covers only those above 45 years at designated vaccination sites.
As of now, Covishield and Covaxin are the two vaccines that will be available. “The efficacy of preventing a Covid infection might be slightly different for the two vaccines: 80 per cent for Covaxin and 60-90 per cent for Covishield. But the prime benefit of the vaccination is prevention from severe illness, hospitalisation, and death and in that regard, both vaccines offer near 100 per cent protection from this,” Dr Trupti Gilada told Outlook.
Imported, fully ready-to-use foreign vaccines like Sputnik V will also become available in the open market later. Those between 18 and 45 will have to buy their vaccines once private sales begin or states buy stocks to vaccinate these people.
So before you decide which vaccine to go for, here’s everything you need to know about Covishield and Covaxin.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, “is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimpanzees. It has been modified to look more like coronavirus - although it can’t cause illness,” according to a BBC report.
How it works
When a patient gets a jab of the vaccine, it stirs the immune system to start producing antibodies and prepares it to attack any coronavirus infection.
Covishield has overall efficacy of 70 per cent. However, it can be over 90 per cent when administered as a half dose followed by a full dose a month later.
The vaccine can be safely stored at temperatures of 2-8 degrees Celsius.
Serum Institute will give Covishield at Rs 400 per dose to states and Rs 600 per dose to private hospitals. The Centre’s procurement price remains Rs 150 per dose.
It is an inactivated vaccine — which means that it is made up of killed coronavirus, making it safe to be injected into the body. Covaxin has been developed by Indian Biotechnology Company Bharat Biotech and clinical research body Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). “Bharat Biotech used a sample of the coronavirus, isolated by India’s National Institute of Virology. When administered, immune cells can still recognise the dead virus, prompting the immune system to make antibodies against the pandemic virus,” the BBC report said.
How it works
On delivery, the vaccine teaches the immune system to make antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, according to a New York Times report. “The antibodies attach to viral proteins, such as the so-called spike proteins that stud its surface," it added.
Covaxin has shown a 78 per cent efficacy in the second interim analysis and 100 per cent against ‘severe Covid-19 disease’.
The vaccine can be stored at 2- 8 degrees Celsius.
Covaxin will cost Rs 600 per dose for the states and Rs 1,200 per dose for private hospitals. The Centre’s procurement price for this vaccine too is Rs 150 per dose.