More than eight lakh healthcare and frontline workers have been inoculated so far with Covishield from the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin as India’s Covid-19 vaccination programme entered its sixth day on Thursday. However, the drive has been marred by “vaccine hesitancy” among some in the priority group and doubts following the deaths of two healthcare workers who were dosed on January 16. However, the Health Ministry has said the two persons died due to cardiopulmonary disease and that their deaths were not linked to the vaccine.
Second dose of Covid vaccine after 28 days
In phase one of the exercise, three crore people healthcare and frontline workers will be vaccinated. The priority group will receive the second dose of the vaccine after a gap of four weeks. According to guidelines issued by the Health Ministry, the vaccines are not interchangeable — the second dose will have to be of a dose of the same vaccine.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said the effectiveness of the vaccine would begin only after 14 days of receiving the second dose. “Hence it is imperative to maintain Covid appropriate behavior even after receiving the vaccine,” Bhushan said at a press conference.
Digital certificate after second dose
To receive the Covid-19 vaccine, one needs to be registered on the Centre’s flagship Co-WIN platform. Besides providing real-time information of vaccine stocks, the app will also track the beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine. Once vaccinated, the recipient will receive a digital certificate and the date for the administration of the second dose. After the second dose, a final digital certificate will be generated.
Covaxin, Covishield adverse reactions
On Tuesday, the Centre said 0.18 per cent of those vaccinated had exhibited adverse events following immunisation while only 0.002 per cent of them had to be hospitalised. Earlier this week, Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech released fact sheets detailing who should not take the vaccines and the possible side effects.
Individuals with a history of allergies, who have fever, bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner, are immune-compromised, pregnant, breastfeeding or have any other serious health related issues should avoid getting inoculated.
Side effects of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Covishield include injection site pain, injection site swelling, stiffness in the upper arm, weakness in injection arm, body ache, headache, fever, malaise, weakness, rashes, nausea and vomiting. Although rare, Covaxin can also cause severe allergic reaction, the Hyderabad-based firm said.
Serum Institute has also advised people severely allergic to any ingredient in Covishield to avoid taking the jab. Ingredients in the vaccine include — L-Histidine, L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, Disodium edetate dihydrate (EDTA), magnesium chloride hexahydrate, Polysorbate 80, ethanol, sucrose, Sodium chloride, and water for injection. If the first dose of Covishield causes an allergic reaction, the firm has asked people to avoid the second dose.