Covid Vaccination in India: Progression and Challenges

By Dr NK Prasanna, CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, New Delhi and Dr SK Varshney, Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi

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The current year has brought a new ray of hope for COVID─19 vaccines, myriad manufacturers of vaccines are coming forward to compete in the race of successfully vaccinating the people at large. But in the present scenario more than useful information, rumours have become airborne, as misinformation is present in abundance and it spreads like a hymn. Some of the burning questions are gathering much attention from the public and they are worried about the authenticity of these vaccines. Meanwhile, vaccine hesitancy is hampering the vaccination drive and facing contempt over the vaccines. The top two Indian vaccine manufacturing companies- Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India have also released myth bursting fact sheet related to essential information about their vaccines and the vaccination drive. This vaccination drive covers a large population of India, will be conducted in several phases to immunize people against this COVID─19 pandemic.

According to the fact sheet released for Covaxin and Covishield, there are some precautions involved in both the vaccines such as fever, headache, joint pain, dizziness, enlarged lymph nodes, excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash, injection site pain, swelling, redness, etc. But no need to panic as every vaccine has its own limitations and side effects.

The Covishield is validated for limited use in crisis condition; this vaccine may prevent COVID─19 infection. It will be given to a person as an intramuscular infusion just, ideally in the deltoid muscle. The immunization course comprises two separate dosages of 0.5 ml each. In continuous clinical trials, the Covishield Vaccine has been appeared to be preventive against COVID─19. The duration of security against COVID─19 sickness is presently obscure. The vaccine recipient may get a protective immune response, a month after the second dose of the Covishield. In case of adverse reaction after the vaccination, paracetamol might be used to deliver symptomatic relief. However, rare events of demyelinating disorders have been communicated for the following vaccination with this vaccine without the causal relationship establishment. Likewise with other intramuscular infusions, Covishield ought to be given with erection to individual with thrombocytopenia.

In phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials, Covaxin has exhibited the capacity to deliver antibodies against COVID─19. After the vaccination, it is also important to follow other precautionary measures associated with Covid─19 for essential safety. For the proper assurance, recipient’s inoculation data might be remembered by the vaccinating officer and the state/National Immunization Information System for making the entire vaccination process easier & flexible. Covaxin will be given to a person as an infusion into the deltoid muscle of the upper arm. In occurrence of any unfavourable conditions, vaccine beneficiaries will be given a medicinally perceived norm of care in the government assigned or approved hospitals/clinics. The reimbursement will be provided by sponsor Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) to seriously affected ones if the serious adverse event (SAE) is linked with the vaccine. The compensation will be dictated by the ICMR Central Ethics Committee, as suitable.

This vaccination drive would turn out to be the world’s largest vaccination drive. We all have suffered so badly because of this small virus and vaccine development has emerged as an outstanding achievement for India. Surely, Misinformation and half information is becoming a barrier for the drive but we should not rely on those misleading news as well as we must ensure that the people who are hesitant towards the vaccine should get the proper information from authentic sources. These two vaccines are the saviour for current crises and have become a beacon of hope for millions of people.

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