Two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, have been granted emergency use authorization in India. Read about these vaccines' indications, contraindications, precautions, and side effects.
A vaccine is a medical or biological preparation that activates the immune system in an individual to fight pathogens that enter the body. Killed or deactivated form of the pathogen, toxin, or surface protein are commonly used to prepare a vaccine. The process of administration of the vaccine is known as vaccination. For people to develop immunity or defense against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) and put an end to this pandemic, various COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, and some have also been approved for emergency use.
Basic knowledge and understanding of these vaccines are necessary before you choose to get vaccinated. Educating ourselves about the advantages, disadvantages, precautions, and side effects of these vaccines will avoid unnecessary panic. The two vaccines that are now being administered in India are Covishield and Covaxin. An individual's medical history and health condition should be greatly considered before getting these vaccines. Some people fear that COVID-19 vaccines can make them prone to COVID-19 infection. But these vaccines do not contain any live components of SARS-CoV-2 and are relatively safe.
On January 16, 2021, the Indian Government started administering two vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, Covaxin and Covishield (developed by Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India, respectively). These vaccines have been granted restricted use because of the pandemic. The Government of India has selected healthcare workers and frontline workers as the first group to get vaccinated as they are at higher risk. The second group will be people over 50 years and adults with comorbid conditions.
The various contraindication for COVID-19 vaccines are:
Patients with a history of an allergic reaction to an earlier dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should avoid getting another dosage of the same vaccine. The ingredient of the vaccine that caused the allergic reaction should be identified.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should refrain from taking COVID-19 vaccines. This is because there is only limited data available on the effects of these vaccines on pregnant and breastfeeding women. As women already get routine vaccines, the administration of other vaccines (like the COVID-19 vaccine) is not suitable. There is also the possibility of the vaccine reaching the baby through breast milk or placenta, resulting in adverse reactions.
It is not advisable to give COVID-19 vaccines along with another vaccine. A time interval of a minimum of 14 days is required for getting vaccinated with two different vaccines.
It is recommended that the first and the second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine should be the same. Interchanging COVID-19 vaccines is not allowed.
COVID-19 vaccination is contraindicated for individuals who are younger than 18 years of age.
If a patient is showing active symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough, fever, breathing difficulties, etc., it is better to avoid the COVID-19 vaccine. Get vaccinated only if the cause of the symptoms is determined to be other than COVID-19.
People with confirmed COVID-19 infection should not get vaccinated as they have an increased risk of spreading the infection to others while getting vaccinated. So infected patients should wait for at least 14 days after symptoms are resolved.
The vaccine should be avoided in COVID-19-recovered patients who were treated with monoclonal antibodies.
A patient who is sick and hospitalized.
In case you are planning to get vaccinated, inform the doctor if you have any of the following medical conditions:
If you are pregnant or trying to conceive.
If you are a breastfeeding mother.
If you have a fever.
If you are consuming anticoagulant medications. It is also better to talk about your past medication history to the doctor.
If you have any allergic reaction to any particular food or drug.
If you have already received a different COVID-19 vaccine.
Covishield or the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is a vaccine developed in the UK. It is a vaccine that is approved for emergency usage in India. It is currently provided to prevent COVID-19 in people who are 18 years or older. The Covishield vaccine is administered in two separate doses. Each dose contains 0.5 ml of the vaccine. After the administration of the first dosage, the second dose is given after four to six weeks. If you miss the second dose, contact your healthcare provider and ask for their advice. This vaccine is given as an intramuscular injection. This intramuscular injection is administered in the deltoid muscle. The reason for the administration of vaccines in the deltoid muscle of the arm are:
The immunogenicity of the vaccine is enhanced.
Adverse reactions are reduced at the site of injection.
The ingredients that are present in the Covishield vaccine are:
L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate.
Magnesium chloride hexahydrate.
Water for injection.
Disodium edetate dihydrate (EDTA).
The common side effects of the Covishield vaccine are listed below. These side effects are seen in one person out of ten.
The other common symptoms that the person might experience after getting vaccinated are:
Lump at the injected site.
Flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, fever, sore throat, chills, cough, etc.
The rare side effects of Covishield, which affects only one out of 100 people, are:
Enlargement of lymph nodes.
Loss of appetite.
Itchiness and skin rashes.
This is not a comprehensive list of the side effects, and as the vaccine is new, other severe and unexpected side effects might also occur. If you develop any unusual signs or symptoms after getting vaccinated, inform your doctor immediately.
Covaxin is another vaccine for COVID-19, just like Covishield. It is a locally produced vaccine by the company Bharath Biotech that was approved for emergency use with certain restrictions. In the first and second phase of clinical trials, Covaxin has been shown to produce satisfactory immunity against the virus causing COVID-19. The third phase of the clinical trial is still under process.
The ingredients of Covaxin are:
Aluminum hydroxide gel.
The possible side effects of Covanix are:
Swelling in the injection site and pain.
The injection site appears red.
Itchiness in the affected site.
Stiffness of the upper arm.
Nausea and vomiting.
There are also chances for the individuals to experience a severe allergic reaction after getting the vaccination. To avoid such situations, the person receiving the vaccine would be asked to stay for 30 minutes after receiving the dosage. The severe side effects caused by Covaxin are:
Multiple rashes all over the body.
Swelling in the throat and face.
Difficulty in breathing.
Weakness and dizziness.
After receiving two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the patient will be followed up for three months. If the patient is experiencing any unusual symptoms after receiving the vaccine, they have to report to the doctor immediately. Even if you have been vaccinated, do not neglect the usage of face masks and gloves. It is also our social responsibility to maintain distance from others, as not everyone is vaccinated, and it might take some time until the general population starts getting vaccinated.
For more help, contact a physician on icliniq.com.
Last reviewed at:
23 Jan 2021 - 5 min read
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