The COVID vaccination drive has almost completed a week in India, but people are still puzzled if they should take a shot of it or not. Well, the skepticism is totally understandable, as not only the vaccines have been prepared in a haste but there also have been a few cases of adverse effects in some people.
Covaxin is a fully indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Bharat Biotech in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV).
However, the vaccine manufacturers have issued an advisory people must go through before they take the shot.
Who shouldn’t get Covaxin?
The vaccine manufacturer has clearly stated that people who have a weaker immunity or are taking a medicine that impacts their immune system should not take the shot.
Bharat Biotech has released a fact sheet suggesting who else shouldn’t take Covaxin –
- People with a history of allergies
- People with fever
- People with a bleeding disorder
- People on a blood thinner
- Pregnant & breastfeeding women
- People with other serious health issues
Moreover, people who have taken a shot of some other COVID-19 vaccine should also not take Covaxin.
Notably, before the vaccination drive was not launched, the government had said that people who are on immuno-suppressants or have a weaker immunity could take the vaccine, but it might not turn out to be very effective. It is worth mentioning that people undergoing chemotherapy, HIV treatment or taking steroids are immune-suppressed.
Who is eligible to get Covaxin?
Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has authorized Bharat Biotech for the restricted use of Covaxin under clinical trial mode. It means that the people, who are on the priority list prepared by the government-appointed panel, will be covered under this program.
It is the responsibility of the respective state governments to inform the individuals who are in line to get the vaccine. The people who are on the priority list have been given the option to receive or reject the vaccine administration at the government-specified booths.
What’s the good news?
So far, about eight lakh people have been vaccinated in India, and the authorities have seen only 580 cases of adverse effects on the patients. There also have been two deaths, in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, but those were completely unrelated to the vaccine.
According to the official figures, only 0.18 percent of cases have resulted in adverse events following immunization (AEFIs), of which only 0.002 percent resulted in hospitalization.
Possible side-effects Covaxin may cause
Bharat Biotech has also defined the possible side-effects (mostly mild) their vaccine may cause in the receivers. Have a look –
- Nausea and vomiting
The other adverse effects may include –
- Severe allergic reaction
- Difficulty in breathing
- Swelling on the face
- Swelling on the throat
- Increased heartbeat
- Rashes all over the body
- Dizziness & weakness
The government has set up specific booths for vaccinations, where they have appointed health experts, who will observe the patients for 30 minutes to keep an eye on the development of any serious side-effects.
Additional planning for patient safety
Bharat Biotech in its fact sheet has also confirmed that the recipients of the vaccine will be a part of a three-month follow-up program, in which designated government officials will track the development of any health issues in them.
If anyone will develop any serious health conditions, they will get medically-recognized standard care at a government facility. The person will also get compensation for developing much serious health issues.
The document further states that the clinical efficacy of Covaxin is yet not established, as it is still in Phase 3 clinical trial stage. Hence, people who receive it are still advised to follow all the COVID-19 related precautions diligently.
People who are next in line to get Covaxin, or any other COVID-19 vaccine, must disclose their medical history before the vaccinator to avoid any chances of adverse effects. Moreover, looking at the AEFI rate, people with a healthy immune system may take a sigh of relief.