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Covaxin vs Covishield vs Sputnik vs Pfizer: Which one should you get?

In India, more than 100 million people have received the COVID jab of two approved vaccines i.e. Covaxin and Covishield. Amid the deadly second coronavirus wave, a third COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use in India. Russia's Sputnik V is considered safe and is like the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured in India as ‘Covishield’.

Sputnik V offers 92% protection (approx.) against Covid-19. The approval for this vaccine came as India crosses Brazil to be the worst-hit nation with the pandemic globally. So, if you also want to get vaccinated, as the Government opens the third phase of trial for 18 years and above, you need to know which one is better.

Comparison Between Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik V, & Pfizer:

Vaccine

Type of Vaccine

Storage and Expiry

Gap b/w the Doses

Price (Rs.)

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin

Inactivated Virus

2 to 8 °C

2 injections, 28 days gap

For govt: Rs 600/dose to states

Private hospitals- Rs 1200/dose to

For citizens: Free at government Centres

Rs 250 in private hospitals

AstraZeneca Covishield. Serum Institute Pune

Viral Vector

2 to 8 °C, 6 months

2 injections, 6-8 weeks gap

For govt: Rs 300/dose to states

Private hospitals- Rs 600/dose to

For citizens: Free at government Centres

Rs 250 in private hospitals

Gamaleya - Russia  & Dr Reddy's Sputnik V

Viral Vector

Liquid form: -18.55 °C

Dry form- 2 to 8 °C

2 injections;
21 days to 3 months

Not yet launched in India

Global Price ( USD 10, Rs 750)

Pfizer/BioNTech

mRNA

-80°C to -60°C 

2 to 8 °C for 5 days

2 injections

N/A

(This is for reference purpose only)

Covishield

Covishield is one of the first two vaccines that were approved for emergency use by the Indian Government. Even countries in Europe are using the drug. The doses are developed by the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca. They are produced in Pune at the Serum Institute of India. The price of the Covishield has now been reduced to Rs 300 for State governments.

How does Covishield work?

The formula followed by Covishield is similar to Sputnik V, which is a weakened version of adenovirus, a common cold virus from chimpanzees, ChAD0x1. So, it has been modified to look more like SARS CoV-2 but it cannot cause illness. After getting injected, the vaccine prompts the human immune system to produce antibodies against the live virus.

Efficacy of Covishield

As per the phase-3 trials in December 2020, the vaccine showed an efficacy of 70.4%. It is based on the international clinical trial results shown by 11,636 volunteers across the United Kingdom and Brazil. It was seen that when people were given the first dose and then those who got the second dose, the efficacy reached up to 90%.


Are there any side effects of Covishield?

The side effects are minimal and some of the common ones seen in 1 out of 10 people are pain, tenderness, warmth, redness, swelling, itching, or bruises on the injection site. It can be fatigue, general feeling of being unwell, chills, feeling feverish, nausea, headache, joint pain or muscle ache.

Some of the uncommon side-effects seen under 1 out of 100 people are feeling dizzy, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, enlarged lymph nodes, rash, and excessive sweating. After the vaccination, if you take paracetamol then the chances of getting symptoms is reduced.

Doses

The two doses of Covishield vaccine are administered between four and 12 weeks apart and are stored at a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius.

Covaxin

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin was given a nod in January for emergency use. Bharat Biotech manufactures this coronavirus vaccine in India in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology. The cost of Covaxin is Rs 600 for the State government and Rs 1200 for private hospitals.

How it works

The pharma company created this vaccine using a sample of the COVID-19 virus that was isolated by the National Institute of Virology. After the vaccination, the immune system starts producing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the Covid-19 virus.

The company says that the vaccine’s immunogenicity is further boosted by adding immune-potentiators, called vaccine adjuvants.

Efficacy

The company conducted an interim analysis based on the Phase 3 trial results and claimed its efficacy rate as 81% for the jab that is effective against the UK variant too.


Side-effects

Some common though rare side-effects can be pain, redness, stiffness in the upper arm, itching at the injection spot, body ache, weakness in the arm, headache, fever, weakness, malaise, rashes, nausea, and vomiting.

Doses

Covaxin is also a two- dose vaccination that is given in a gap of 28 days from the first dose.

Sputnik V

Sputnik V Doses and How They Work?

Sputnik is a two-dose vaccine in which the second dose is administered after a gap of 21 days. For both the jabs two different vectors are used. It uses two dissimilar disarmed strains of the adenovirus that cause the common cold. They are used as vectors to deliver the jab. Injecting two different vectors can minimize the risk of the immune system developing resistance to the initial vector.

Sputnik V uses a cold-type virus, which is engineered to be harmless. It works as a carrier to deliver a small fragment of the SARS-CoV2 virus to the body. It safely exposes the body to a part of the genetic code of the virus. It recognized the threat and then learns to fight it off, without causing any illness.

Once you are vaccinated, your immune system produces antibodies against the coronavirus for real.

The vaccine can be stored at a temperature of 2 degrees to and 8 degrees Celsius, which makes it easier to store and transport in India.


Efficacy

Sputnik V has an efficacy of 91.6%, which is closer to Moderna and Pfizer. As per the clinical trials, Pfizer and Moderna shots showed an efficacy of 95% and only Sputnik is near to that rate.

Side-effects

Quite rarely did anyone require any hospitalization, and any side-effects were not associated with the vaccination. In some cases, people develop fever, which is the immune system’s natural way of giving the body a boost. It can easily be overcome with paracetamol, and there are no serious allergies reported.

Is Pfizer Effective?

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shows a very high success rate of 95% in its clinical trials against any symptomatic infections. After two doses the jab showed 95% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID infections. It works more or less across all age groups. So far, it remains highly effective for at least six months or even longer. But its usage in India seems to be bleak because of the storage temperature issue.

So, in the third phase, you can opt for Covaxin, Sputnik, & Covishield.

While it’s imperative and social responsibility to get the COVID vaccine, you also need to get adequate health insurance cover.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 05 May 2021
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