Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine for protecting oneself against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to the close contacts including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and getting vaccinated will help protect you against developing severe COVID-19 disease and dying from COVID-19. You may experience some mild side effects after getting vaccinated, which are signs that your body is building protection. About 3 percent of India’s population has been fully vaccinated, and 9.2 percent of people have received at least one dose till 6th May 2021.
Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine which means that it is made up of killed coronaviruses, making it safe to be injected into the body. Bharat Biotech, a 24-year-old vaccine maker with a portfolio of 16 vaccines and exports to 123 countries, 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 two doses are given four weeks apart. The vaccine can be stored at 2C to 8C. The vaccine has an efficacy rate of 81%, preliminary data from its phase 3 trial shows. India’s regulators gave the vaccine an emergency approval in January while the third phase of the trial was still underway, sparking scepticism and questions from experts. Bharat Biotech says it has a stockpile of 20 million doses of Covaxin, and is aiming to make 700 million doses out of its four facilities in two cities by the end of the year.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being manufactured locally by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. It says it is producing more than 60 million doses a month. The vaccine 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.
When the vaccine is injected into a patient, it prompts the immune system to start making antibodies and primes it to attack any coronavirus infection.
The jab is administered in two doses given between four and 12 weeks apart. It can be safely stored at temperatures of 2C to 8C and can easily be delivered in existing health care settings such as doctors’ surgeries. The jab developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, which is currently being administered in several countries, must be stored at -70C and can only be moved a limited number of times – a particular challenge in India, where summer temperatures can reach 50C.