FAQs on Covaxin, Covishield vaccines for Covid-19

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Bharat Biotech released a “fact sheet” on Monday detailing the risks and benefits of its vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The Hyderabad-based company reiterated that the efficacy of its vaccine, Covaxin, was yet to be established as Phase 3 clinical trials were underway.

The advisory was released amid growing concern and hesitancy among healthcare workers, the priority group being inoculated first in the country.

Earlier this month, Serum Institute of India had also put out a similar release with FAQs. Serum Institute, which makes Covishield, said beneficiaries should disclose certain health information to doctors before taking its shot.

The companies, which have been granted approval for restricted use of their vaccines in an emergency situation, rolled out their vaccines last Saturday, January 16, 2021. As of 5 pm Monday, 3.81 lakh people had been vaccinated against Covid-19, and there have been 580 adverse events. Two people reportedly died after being inoculated, incidents the Union Health Ministry said were not linked with vaccination.

Who can/cannot take Bharat Biotech Covaxin vaccine?

Bharat Bitoch said it was not advisable to take Covaxin in any of the following conditions:

* Have any allergies
* Have fever
* Have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
* Are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
* Are pregnant
* Are breastfeeding
* Have received another Covid-19 vaccine
* Any other serious health related issues, as determined by the vaccinator

The company specifically states those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take the vaccine as its effects have not been studied on pregnant women and nursing mothers.

It also says there is “no scientific information yet available of the appropriateness of use of Covaxin along with other vaccines”.

Covaxin, which is injected into the deltoid muscle of the upper arm, is shown to generate immunity following two doses, four weeks apart. Bharat Biotech says there is no chance of getting Covid-19 because of Covaxin vaccination.

What are side effects of Bharat Biotech Covaxin vaccine?

The side effects that have been reported with the Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccine include:

* Injection site pain
* Injection site swelling
* Injection site redness
* Injection site itching
* Stiffness in the upper arm
* Weakness in injection arm
* Body ache
* Headache
* Fever
* Malaise
* Weakness
* Rashes
* Nausea
* Vomiting

Covaxin can also cause a severe allergic reaction, although rare. Signs of this include:

* Difficulty in breathing
* Swelling of your face and throat
* A fast hear beat
* Rash all over your body
* Dizziness and weakness

Who can/cannot take Serum Institute of India Covishield vaccine?

Serum Institute says Covishield “may not protect everyone”. Those who are receiving the shot must disclose to their vaccinators the following:

* If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after any drug, food, any vaccine or
any ingredients (see below) of Covishield vaccine
* If you have fever
* If you have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
* If you are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
* If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
* If you are breastfeeding
* If you have received another Covid-19 vaccine

The vaccine includes the following ingredients: L-Histidine, L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, Magnesium chloride hexahydrate, Polysorbate 80, Ethanol, Sucrose, Sodium chloride, Disodium edetate dihydrate (EDTA), and water for injection.

Covishield consists of two separate doses of 0.5 ml each. The second dose should be administered four to six weeks after the first. A person who has had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of the vaccine, should not be administered the second.

The company says you may develop immunity for Covid-19 four weeks after the second dose of the shot.

What are side effects of Serum Institute’s Covishield vaccine?

The very common side effects include:

* tenderness, pain, warmth, redness, itching, swelling or bruiding
* fatigue
* chills or feeling feverish
* headache
* nausea
* joint pain or muscle ache

Common side effects:

* a lump at the injection site
* fever
* vomiting
* flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills

Uncommon side effects:

* feeling dizzy
* decreased appetite
* abdominal pain
* enlarged lymph nodes
* excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash

Apart from this, “serious and unexpected side effects may occur”, the company states.



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