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Covaxin: Frequently asked questions about India's homegrown Covid-19 vaccine
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This story is from June 2, 2021
Covaxin: Frequently asked questions about India's homegrown Covid-19 vaccine

Covaxin: Frequently asked questions about India's homegrown Covid-19 vaccine

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NEW DELHI: On January 16 this year, India started its biggest vaccination programme against Covid-19. For inoculating its population, India gave emergency approval to two vaccines. Of this, one was indigenous made-Covaxin. However, nearly six months into the vaccination programme, some questions related to the vaccine still remain. Here are answers to them.
  1. What technology has been deployed in the development of Covaxin?
    Covaxin is India’s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) - National Institute of Virology (NIV).It uses an inactivated form of the coronavirus that destroys the ability of the virus to multiply in the human body and increases the immunity system to fight the virus.


  1. How many shots of Covaxin are required?
    Covaxin is a two-dose vaccination regimen given 28 days apart. It is injected into the deltoid muscle of the upper arm. Phase 3 clinical trial shows it has an efficacy rate of 81%.
  2. Does Covaxin have any side effects?
    There could be mild symptoms upon receiving the vaccine like injection site tenderness, injection site pain,redness, itching, rashes, fever, headache, body ache,vomiting and nausea. A severe allergic reaction may very rarely occur. More side effects are still being studied in clinical trials.
  3. When does Covaxin start giving protection?
    The immunity doesn’t build immediately after vaccination. It usually takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity against the virus. In the meanwhile, a person can still get infected. Therefore, all precautions related to Covid-19 like wearing face masks, maintaining hand hygiene and social distancing must be followed.However, how long the immunity lasts after both the doses remains unclear.
  4. How long does the protection last from Covaxin?
    The immunity kicks in two weeks after receiving the second dose. However, it remains unclear as of now how long the immunity lasts after both the doses of the vaccine are administered.
  5. Can pregnant women take Covaxin?
    The safety of the vaccine has not been studied in pregnant women.
  6. Is Covaxin effective against all variants of the coronavirus?
    Bharat Biotech has claimed that vaccination with Covaxin protects against all key emerging virus variants. In a study conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Virology and Indian Council of Medical Research, it came to light that vaccination produced neutralising titres against all key emerging variants tested, including B.1.617 and B.1.1.7, first identified in India and the UK, respectively.
  7. Has Covaxin been approved globally?
    While some nations like Iran, Philippines, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Guyana, Paraguay, Zimbabwe have approved India’s homegrown vaccine, it has not got approval from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) yet. Therefore, some nations including the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and the European Union do not recognise Covaxin. However, in its effort to give the vaccine the recognition, Bharat Biotech has already submitted 90% of the documentation for EUL to WHO.
  8. Can I take international travel after receiving Covaxin shots?
    Once WHO gives its approval to the vaccine for EUL, it will get much easier for recipients to travel abroad.

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