The DCGI’s expert panel has approved an Emergency Use Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine, for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older in India.
Recently in 2020 the entire world was locked down because of the largest ever pandemic of Covid-19. No other pandemic was so severe in the past to cause such a stringent lockdown affecting the lives of billions of people across the world.
Everyone was waiting for the effective vaccine for the Covid-19 and some companies are successful in finding out the solution.
The vaccination with Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine has already begun in India and some other countries are in process to do so.
ChAdOx1 nCoV- 19 CoronaVirus Vaccine (Recombinant) 5 × 10 viral particles. This is m-RNA vaccine.
Recombinant, replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus vector encoding the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein. Produced in genetically modified human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells. This product contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
This vaccine delivers m-RNA producing covid-19 like virus antigens in covering of adenovirus.
How is the Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine available?
Each dose of this vaccine is 0.5 ml.
So vials are available in different numbers of doses either single dose 0.5 ml vial or multidose vial.
1 dose = 0.5 ml vial
2 dose = 1 ml vial
5 dose = 2.5 ml
10 dose = 5 ml
20 dose = 10 ml
Most common packing currently available is 5 ml or 10 dose vial. The 5 ml vial contains 6 ml injection so that 12 doses can be given if wastage is avoided while drawing the vaccine in the syringe.
How is the Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine vaccine stored?
For storage of this vaccine the guidelines provided by manufacturers are to be followed strictly. Not following the temperature and storage guidelines will damage the vaccine and it will be ineffective.
Manufacturer recommends a storage temperature of 2-8 degree celsius. This temperature range should be maintained at all levels from manufacturer to end user. Vaccines should not be frozen accidentally.
Vial once opened can be used within 4 hours of opening. After 4 hours remaining doses should be discarded. There is no need to keep the opened vial in the refrigerator. It can be kept at room temperature.
Local biomedical waste management protocols are to be followed to discard the vaccine or the disposables so that they do not pollute the environment.
How is the Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine given?
Currently this vaccine is available only in govt set up and it is given as per the priority decided by the government.
Currently healthcare workers and covid warriors are on priority and those registered on Cowin app are getting appointments for the vaccination. They need to reach the designated center with necessary documents.
This vaccine is given an intramuscular injection 0.5 ml dose. 2 doses are needed 84 days apart for a single person.
The vial once opened should be discarded after 4 hours of use. It is not recommended to use one opened vial after 4 hours. There is no need to keep the opened vial in the refrigerator. It can be kept at room temperature.
All safety injection precautions are taken while giving this vaccine. The remaining vaccine beyond 4 hours should be discarded following the biomedical waste management protocols.
Expired products should not be used for injection.
At what age is the Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine given?
Currently this vaccine is approved for use by DCGI for those above 18 years of age.
Use in children
Currently this vaccine has not been approved for use in children below 18 years of age.
Use in pregnancy
Yes, considering the risk of covid-19 disease in pregnancy, this vaccine is given in pregnancy. This vaccine is found to be safe in pregnancy and is recommended for pregnant women to prevent Covid-19 disease.
This vaccine is safe to use in lactating mothers. There is no adverse impact in mother or breastfeeding baby after giving this vaccine.
Current data from clinical studies does not indicate any adverse effect on fertility of the vaccine recipients.
Clinical studies had participants of age above 65 years of age. The data from clinical studies indicate that this vaccine is safe and effective for those above 65 years of age.
What are side effects after Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine?
In clinical trials the noted side effects are usually mild and they are listed as follows:
- Redness and swelling: It may appear at the injection site within a few minutes to few hours of injection. Usually subsides of its own.
- Pain at injection site: This is another side effect after taking this vaccine. Generally mild to moderate grade pain may occur at the injection site.
- Fever: Generally this vaccine in few patients can cause fever. Fever is usually mild to moderate grade. It may subside by its own or may be reduced with oral treatment like paracetamol. Usually they do not need admission for the management can be managed at home.
- Fatigue: In some patients this vaccine may cause fatigue and generally reduces on its own.
- Headache: In some patients it may cause a headache that can be mild to moderate grade. In very few patients it causes a very severe headache.
- Nausea and vomiting is a known side effect of the vaccine.
- Other mild side effects are chills, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Muscle pain and joint pain
- Serious adverse events were reported by very few Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine recipients.
- Like other vaccines this vaccine can cause anaphylactic reaction which may be life threatening but chances of such severe reaction are rare.
How does the Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine work?
Covishield vaccine is a recombinant vaccine. It uses adenovirus which carries S glycoprotein of SARS-COV 19 which is a coronavirus causing covid-19 disease.
This is an m-RNA vaccine. When this vaccine is injected to the host, m-RNA is taken into your cells and your cells produce Covid-19 virus-like antigens in your body.
Your immunity identifies those antigens as foreign antigens and your immunity develops a mechanism to fight it. If a real virus infects your body, your immunity fights it vigorously. Thus you are protected from the disease.
This is a method of active immunization.
To whom Covishield COVID-19 Vaccine should not be given?
If a patient is allergic to any of its components or has got anaphylactic allergic reaction at the time of the first dose.
Special precautions are needed in following groups
Special precaution is needed in following groups:
- As with all injectable vaccines, appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in case of an anaphylactic event following the administration of the vaccine.
- As with other vaccines, administration of COVISHIELD™ should be postponed in individuals suffering from an acute severe febrile illness. However, the presence of a minor infection, such as cold, and/or low-grade fever should not delay vaccination.
- As with other intramuscular injections, COVISHIELD™ should be given with caution to individuals with thrombocytopenia, any coagulation disorder or to persons on anticoagulation therapy, because bleeding or bruising may occur following an intramuscular administration in these individuals.
- It is not known whether individuals with impaired immune responsiveness, including individuals receiving immunosuppressant therapy, will elicit the same response as immunocompetent individuals to the vaccine regimen. Immunocompromised individuals may have relatively weaker immune responses to the vaccine regimen.
- No data are available on the use of ChAdOx1 nCoV- 19 CoronaVirus Vaccine (Recombinant) in persons that have previously received partial vaccine series with another COVID-19 vaccine.
- The duration of protection has not yet been established.
Do I need to take a booster dose after 2 doses?
Currently there is no sufficient data regarding the need of booster dose after 2 doses of Covishield vaccine.
Yet the booster dose is not recommended.
Can I take another covid vaccine after covishield?
Taking a second dose of another covid vaccine from another brand is called ‘mixing’ or ‘mix and match’ of the vaccine.
One ICMR study has found taking Covaxin after Covishield vaccine is safe and more effective. Currently taking other brand’s covid vaccine after Covishield vaccine is not recommended as more studies are needed to see the effect.
You should take both doses of the same brand as recommended by government guidelines.