Covid-19 Vaccines | Comparative factsheet on COVID19 vaccines Covishield and Covaxin: Dosage, schedule, likely reactions explained


Covid-19 Vaccination fact sheet&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspPTI

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued all the necessary information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in the country scheduled to begin from 16th January 2021. The States and Union Territories have already received the vaccines (Covishield & Covaxin) for the same. There have been several dry runs across the different states of the country. Learnings from these drills have been collated and accordingly, a standard protocol has been decided upon.

The MOH&FW authorities have also provided health care workers and the media with a comparative factsheet for both the vaccines that will be used during the introduction. The document contains information on vaccine platform, physical specifications, dosage, cold chain storage requirements, contraindications and minor AEFIs (Adverse events following immunization). The Health authorities have also issued a detailed note on contraindications and special precautions.

Here is the Comparative factsheet for COVID19 vaccines (Covishield & Covaxin) has been prepared for record-keeping purposes.

Sr No Indicator Covishield CoVaxin
1 Type of vaccine Recombinant COVID-19 vaccine based on Viral Vector Technology Whole-Virion inactivated Coronavirus vaccine
2 No. of doses in each vial 10 20
3 Shelf-life 6 months 6 months
4 Expiry Date available on the vial Yes Yes
5 Route Intra-Muscular (IM) Injectable Intra-Muscular (IM) Injectable
6 Dose  0.5 ml each dose 0.5 ml each dose
7 Course 2 doses 2 doses
8 Schedule 4 weeks apart 4 weeks apart
9 Physical Appearance of Vaccine Clear to slightly opaque, colourless to slightly brown Whitish Translucent

That was about the vaccine itself. But the government wants all stakeholders to also be aware of the other factors such as who can or can’t have the vaccine, the cold chain storage requirements and minor AEFIs (Adverse events following immunization) etc.

When not to have the vaccine:

Sr No. Indicator Covishield CoVaxin
1 During pregnancy Not recommended Not recommended
2 Less than 18 years of age Not recommended Not recommended
3 Lactating mothers Not recommended Not recommended

Storage & Transportation requirements:


Sr No Indicator Covishield CoVaxin
1 Storage & Transportation +2.0°C to +8.0°C at all levels +2.0°C to +8.0°C at all levels
2 Cold-chain storage space in secondary packing 2.109 cm cube 1.7187 cm cube
3 Shake Test  Not applicable Not applicable
4 Open Vial Policy Not applicable Not applicable
5 Freeze Sensitive Yes Yes
6 Discard the vaccine vial if found to have been Frozen and Thawed Frozen and Thawed
7 Discard the vial if Solution is discoloured or visible particles are observed Particle matters are seen or discolouration observed

What about likely reactions after the administration of the vaccine?

The booklet apprises practitioners that some mild AEFIs (Adverse events following immunization) is likely. Here are what are the likely AEFIs and how the medics will likely deal with it.

Sr No Indicator Covishield CoVaxin
1 AEFIs Injection site tenderness, injection site pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia, malaise, pyrexia, chills, arthralgia, nausea
Some mild AEFIs may occur like injection site pain, headache, fatigue, fever, body ache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, dizziness-giddiness, tremors, sweating, cold-cough, injection site swelling.
2 AEFIs other

Paracetamol may be used to provide symptomatic relief from post-vaccination adverse reactions. Very rare events of demyelinating disorders have been reported following vaccination with this vaccine without the casual relationship establishment. As with other intramuscular injections, Covishield should be given with caution to patients of thrombocytopenia.

3 Any other Instruction  —- hake well before use. The usage of Chloroquine and Corticosteroids may impair antibody response.

Here’s what the World Health Organisation WHO) has to say on the issue of

“Adverse events following immunization (AEFI)” for any vaccine:

“As vaccine-preventable infectious diseases continue to decline, people have become increasingly concerned about the risks associated with vaccines. Furthermore, technological advances and continuously increased knowledge about vaccines have led to investigations focused on the safety of existing vaccines which have sometimes created a climate of concern.

“Adverse event following immunization is any untoward medical occurrence which follows immunization and which does not necessarily have a causal relationship with the usage of the vaccine. If not rapidly and effectively dealt with, can undermine confidence in a vaccine and ultimately have dramatic consequences for immunization coverage and disease incidence.

“Alternatively, vaccine-associated adverse events may affect healthy individuals and should be promptly identified to allow additional research and appropriate action to take place. In order to respond promptly, efficiently, and with scientific rigour to vaccine safety issues, WHO has established a Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety.

Key points

  • There is no such thing as a “perfect” vaccine which protects everyone who receives it AND is entirely safe for everyone.
  • Effective vaccines (i.e. vaccines inducing protective immunity) may produce some undesirable side effects which are mostly mild and clear up quickly.
  • The majority of events thought to be related to the administration of a vaccine are actually not due to the vaccine itself – many are simply coincidental events, others (particularly in developing countries) are due to human, or programme, error.
  • It is not possible to predict every individual who might have a mild or serious reaction to a vaccine, although there are a few contraindications to some vaccines. By following contraindications the risk of serious adverse effects can be minimized. (Source: WHO)


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