NEW DELHI: Even as the government plans to roll out the Covid vaccination drive with Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, recipients may not have an option to choose which one they want to be inoculated with.
“Many countries across the world are using more than one vaccine. There is no such option available to any of the beneficiaries in these countries,” health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, indicating that this might be the case in India as well. Covid vaccination in the country is voluntary though whether healthcare and frontline workers have such an option could be a matter of rules.
Outlining the dosing pattern, the health ministry said there will be a gap of 28 days between two doses of vaccine and its effectiveness will begin 14 days after the second dose. Both NITI Aayog member-health Dr V K Paul and Bhushan caustioned on the need to maintain safe behaviour even as they highlighted that India’s positivity rate last week was a low 2% and that only Kerala and Maharashtra have more than 50,000 active cases.
Both the vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin are being locally manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. On January 3, the drug regulator had announced grant of emergency use authorisation to both the jabs based on their safety and immunogenicity data.
Paul said both the vaccines have been tested on thousands of people and are the safest.
“We should have no doubt that the two vaccines approved are the safest of the vaccines. Both the vaccines have been tested on thousands of people and side-effects are negligible. There is no risk of any significance,” he said.
Hence, it is imperative to maintain Covid-19 appropriate behavior before and after one gets vaccinated, officials said.