New Delhi, January 4 (IndiaToday) – India’s drugs regulator on Sunday approved Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted approval on the basis of recommendations by a Covid-19 Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
With India set to roll out the vaccine, the Union Health Ministry has released a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on Covid-19 vaccines.
In the list, the Centre responded to questions like if taking a vaccine was mandatory, how long does it take for the antibodies to develop, the side-effects, and how is one or more vaccine chosen.
Here are the details:
Is a Covid vaccine scheduled anytime soon?
Government has identified high-risk groups to be vaccinated on priority.
>> The first group includes healthcare and frontline workers,
>> The second group will be persons over 50 years and persons with co-morbid conditions
>> Subsequently, the vaccine will be made available to all others in need.
Will the vaccine be safe as it is being tested and introduced in a short span of time?
Vaccines will be introduced in the country only after the regulatory bodies clear it based on its safety and efficacy.
Is it mandatory to take the vaccine?
Vaccination for Covid-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of Covid-19 vaccine for protecting self against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to the close contacts including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers.
Is it necessary for a Covid recovered person to take the vaccine?
Yes, it is advisable to receive complete schedule of Covid vaccine irrespective of past history of infection with Covid-19 as it will help in developing a strong immune response.
Can a person presently having Covid-19 (confirmed or suspected) infection be vaccinated?
Infected individuals should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptoms resolution as they may increase the risk of spreading the virus to others at the vaccination site.
Out of the multiple vaccines available, how is one or more vaccine chosen for administration?
The safety and efficacy data from clinical trials of vaccine candidates are examined by Drug regulator before granting the licence. Hence, all the licenced Covid-19 vaccines will have comparable safety and efficacy.
However, it must be ensured that the entire schedule of vaccination is completed by only one type of vaccine as different Covid-19 vaccines are not interchangeable.
Does India have the capacity to store the Covid vaccine at temperature of +2 to +8 degree Celsius and transport them at required temperature?
India runs one of the largest Immunisation programme in the world, catering to the vaccination needs of more than 26 million newborns and 29 million pregnant women. The programme mechanisms are being strengthened/geared up to effectively cater to the country’s large and diverse population.
Will the vaccine introduced in India be as effective as the ones introduced in other countries?
Yes. The Covid-19 vaccine introduced in India will be as effective as any vaccine developed by other countries as various phases of vaccine trials are undertaken to ensure its safety and efficacy.
How will I know if I am eligible for vaccination?
Eligible beneficiaries will be informed through their registered mobile number regarding the health facility for vaccination and its scheduled time.
What documents are required for registration of eligible beneficiary?
Any of the below mentioned ID with Photo may be produced at the time of registration:
Aadhaar/Driving Licence/Voter ID/PAN Card/Passport/Job Card/Pension document
Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Job Card
Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs
Passbooks issued by Bank/Post Office
Service ID issued to employees by Central/ State Govt./ Public Limited Companies
Can a person get the Covid-19 vaccine without registration with Health Department?
No, registration of beneficiary is mandatory for vaccination for Covid-19. Only after registration, the information on the session site and time will be shared.
If a person is not able to produce Photo ID at the session site, whether s/he be vaccinated or not?
Photo ID is a must for both registration and verification of beneficiary at session site to ensure that the intended person is vaccinated.
How will the beneficiary receive information about due date of vaccination?
Following online registration, beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number on the due date, place and time of vaccination.
Will vaccinated beneficiaries receive information on the status of their vaccination after completion?
Yes. On getting due dose of Covid-19 vaccine, the beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number. After all doses of vaccine are administered, a QR code-based certificate will also be sent to the registered mobile number of the beneficiary.
What about the possible side-effects from Covid-19 vaccine?
Covid vaccine will be introduced only when the safety is proven.
As is true for other vaccines, the common side effects in some individuals could be mild fever, pain, etc. at the site of injection.
States have been asked to start making arrangements to deal with any Covid-19 vaccine-related side-effects.
If one is taking medicines for illnesses like Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension etc, can s/he take the COVID19 vaccine?
Yes. Persons with one or more of these comorbid conditions are considered high risk category. They need to get COVID -19 vaccination.
Will the family of healthcare providers/frontline workers also be given the vaccine?
Due to the limited vaccine supply in the initial phase, it will be first provided to people in priority groups.
In subsequent phases, the vaccine will be made available to all others in need.
How many doses of the vaccine would have to be taken by me and at what interval?
Two doses of vaccine, 28 days apart, need to be taken by an individual to complete the vaccination schedule.
When would antibodies develop? After taking first dose, after taking second dose, or much later?
Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine.