India has launched a massive exercise to inoculate its population against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) which has claimed more than 1.5 lakh lives in the country.
In the vaccination drive that began on January 16, the doctors are using two vaccines – Covishield made by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech.
But days into the vaccination programme, Bharat Biotech has come out with a factsheet about the process involved and who should avoid taking the vaccine.
According to the fact sheet posted on Bharat Biotech’s website, it is advisable not to take the vaccine if a person has allergies, fever or bleeding disorder or is on a blood thinner.
It also said that pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid taking Covaxin. Those who are immune-compromised or are on medicine that affects the immune system, and those who have received another Covid-19 vaccine should also not get the Bharat Biotech medicine, the company said.
So who all are eligible to get Covaxin shots? The fact sheet from Bharat Biotech says that CDSCO has authorised the restricted use of its vaccine under clinical trial mode.
“Individuals who are prioritised under the public health program of the ministry of health and family welfare, will be covered under this endeavour. Informing the individuals about the offer for vaccination with Covaxin will rest with the respective government program officials. Those offered Covaxin at pre-specified booths will have the options to receive or reject administration of the vaccine,” the factsheet said.
The company document further described the ingredients in the Covaxin. It contains 64g of whole-virion inactivated SARS-CoV-2 antigen (Strain: NIV-2020-770), and the other inactive ingredients such as aluminum hydroxide gel (250 μg), TLR 7/8 agonist (imidazoquinolinone) 15 μg, 2-phenoxyethanol 2.5 mg, and phosphate buffer saline up to 0.5 ml.
“The vaccine thus has been developed by using inactivated/killed virus along with the aforementioned chemicals,” said Bharat Biotech.
Covaxin is administered as an injection into the deltoid muscle of the upper arm. It is a two-dose series given four weeks apart, Bharat Biotech further said.