Fact sheet: India’s Covaxin Covid-19 vaccine

Zimbabwe on March 29, received a batch of 35 000 Covaxin Covid-19 vaccines, which are part of the 75 000 doses donated by India.

Covaxin joins two other Chinese vaccines – Sinopharm and Sinovac – in the country’s ongoing inoculation programme currently targeting front line workers.

Below we give some facts about Covaxin:

What is Covaxin?

·         Covaxin is an Indian Covid-19 vaccine produced by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology.

·         It is one of the vaccines being administered in that country and other parts of the world.

·         Covaxin is made of an inactivated vaccine, meaning the vaccine is made up of the virus that has been killed and can no longer cause infection.

How does Covaxin work?

·         When Covaxin is injected into the body, immune cells can still recognise the virus, even though it is inactivated, which is what triggers an immune response.

·         From what has been seen, Covaxin is capable of heightening antibody response for up to several weeks after initial vaccination, which may mean that it can give out better immuno-response.

·         Two doses of the Covaxin are given four weeks apart.

·         The vaccine can be stored at 2C to 8C.

Efficacy and safety of Covaxin

·         According to a recently published report in a Lancet study, Covaxin is safe for use and offers a higher efficacy rate than what was previously seen.

·         The findings from a survey of 25,800 volunteers, who did not have prior experience of Covid-19 and were given two-dose jabs show that the vaccine carries an efficacy rate as high as 81%.  

·         The 81% efficacy rate is in line with many other vaccines currently in use.

·         Covaxin, a traditional vaccine, has been observed to have lower odds of causing disturbing or serious side-effects.

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