Explained: from efficacy to cost, what you need to know about the Covid-19 vaccines approved by India

The Reader’s Time

January 3, 2021 –20:38 pm

India’s fight against Covid-19, which has infected more than 1 crore people and killed 1.5 lakh, received a shot in the arm on Sunday after the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the country’s national drug regulator, approved two corona virus vaccines for restricted emergency use — Serum Institute of India’s Covishield (the Indian variant of the AZD1222 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca) and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

On safety concerns regarding the vaccines, Drugs Controller General of India, VG Somani said, “We will never approve anything if there’s slightest of safety concern. Vaccines are 110 % safe. Some side effects like mild fever, pain & allergy are common for every vaccine.”

Besides, the DCGI also gave the green signal to Cadila Healthcare Ltd to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials of its ZyCoV-D vaccine candidate for Covid-19. The Pfizer vaccine and Russia’s Sputnik-V are likely to be approved for use in India in the coming weeks. The government is now set to embark on one of the largest immunisation programmes, with nearly 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers set to be dosed in the first phase.

According to Readers Times resources, the vaccine, however, has been plagued by uncertainty about its most effective dosage ever since data published in November showed a half dose followed by a full dose had a 90 per cent success rate while two full shots were 62 per cent effective. In December, citing data from early trials, Oxford said the vaccine had a better immune response when a two full-dose regime was given.

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