Soon, the centralised Co-Win portal will allow beneficiaries to select vaccine options when they head to their respective vaccine centres. This comes after the Centre removed the ‘clinical trial mode’ tag for Covaxin. The civic body had already begun offering a choice between Covaxin or Covishield at its five vaccination centres, from Monday. Until now, there was only one centre in the city approved to administer Covaxin but now, more centres will do so.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said that while walk-in beneficiaries would be given a choice of vaccine, the BMC had proposed to the Centre to offer this choice on the Co-Win portal too. This is likely to be available in the next three days. “For now, we have started giving a choice of vaccine at the five jumbo centres, which includes Seven Hills Hospital and the jumbo centres at BKC, NESCO, Dahisar and Mulund. However, soon the portal too will offer the option,” he said. At other vaccination centres across the city too, this option will be available, he said.
Earlier this month, the first indigenous vaccine, Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech was shown to have an efficacy rate of 81 per cent in Phase III of clinical trials. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier approved its emergency use in clinical trial mode. Covaxin uses an inactivated virus paired with an adjuvant – a chemical that boosts immune response.
Beneficiaries will no longer have to sign any consent form if they are selecting Covaxin, as was being done in the initial days. Some vaccine centres across Maharashtra had already begun administering Covaxin to beneficiaries, citing shortage of Covishield.
How each vaccine works
The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, named Covishield in India and known as AZD1222 globally, uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector, based on a weakened version of the common cold virus, also called the adenovirus. It contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced in the human body without any impact of the actual Covid-19 disease, allowing the immune system to be prepared to attack the virus if it affects the body in the future.
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, on the other hand, is an inactivated form of the novel coronavirus itself. The strain was isolated from an asymptomatic Covid-19 patient at the National Institute of Virology, Pune, by the Indian Council of Medical Research. They then handed over the strain to Bharat Biotech to produce India’s first home-grown Covid vaccine. The vaccine uses an inactivated form of the virus to produce an immune response that will attack the actual virus if it were to enter the body in the future.