CoviSheild? Covaxin? Vaccinate?

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

The vaccines COVISHEILD and COVAXIN have been approved for the Indian public. Most health care workers and front line workers have been vaccinated as of today - due to their nature of work. The general public now will have to make a choice. But let it be an informed and educated choice.

Here are some thoughts for you to consider on vaccination for Covid. This article presents the scenario of the two vaccines and stage of research.

THE TWO VACCINES available for the general public: 1. Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India prepared with LIVE virus. This virus produces a reaction within 48 hours. Fever, chills, body ache, headache, have been the common reactions that pass off in a couple of days.

2. Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin prepared from DEAD virus — against SARS-CoV2 infection — for restricted emergency use. One can wait for this vaccine which is overall safer and reactions are not expected. Most senior citizens should OPT FOR THIS VACCINE instead. Even if you have to pay for it.

As the article in the link above explains, the long term effects and efficacy of these vaccines has not been established.


Covaxin vs Covishield Comparison (1)
Download PDF • 1.30MB

It is also expected that newer vaccines will include the new Covid strains, or a booster dose to include new strains will be available later. Does the Vaccine protect you from getting a Covid infection? No, one may still get a Covid infection if exposed to the virus, The vaccine is simply expected to modify your response so that one does not end up with serious complications of Covid. This is because a couple of weeks after the vaccine one develops antibodies to the Covid virus and it is easier to fight a subsequent infection. One may not be protected from NEW mutant strains.

Also, while one is protected from the dominant Covid virus strain, one can still transmit a contracted infection to another person, even though one may not develop severe symptoms.

This means that we CONTINUE with Covid precautions: 1. Wearing a mask in crowded areas and closed spaces. And also maintaining mask hygiene. 2. Regular and frequent hand washing; or else the use of a sanitizer when washing is not immediately possible.

Making a choice to take the vaccine can be more complex than that and can depend on a multitude of social factors. 1. Presence of co-morbidities and senior age group can suggest that a vaccine can be protective, especially if one wants to get back into normal interaction and also be able to travel in public transport or especially for those who need to travel abroad. There may even be a compulsory vaccine advisory for foreign travel (Australia already has one), a certificate of vaccination will be given.

FOR PEOPLE ON CONSTITUTIONAL CHRONIC HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT, which most of my patients are, the vaccine is NOT URGENT and they can afford to wait till the ideal vaccine is available. I have advised individual patients who need to take the vaccine, to opt for COVAXIN instead of COVISHEILD.

2. FEAR can have a crippling effect, disabling some people from functioning normally. The vaccine offers a way out of this scenario and allows them to think beyond fear of disease. If one has a robust and balanced immune system response, taking the vaccine may be an acceptable choice.

Holy Family Hospital, Bandra where I work, has been duly approved as a Vaccination Centre.

The Govt is also set to launch version 2.0 of the CO-WIN Digital App. for self-registration of vaccine beneficiaries above 50 years of age and those with co-morbidities.

Email me if you need help to decide for yourselves.

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