Everything about Covishield COVID Vaccine by Oxford–AstraZeneca
What is Covishield?
Covishield is the brand name under which the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca (called AZD1222) is distributed in India. It helps to prevent against COVID-19, which is the disease caused by theSARS-CoV-2 virus.
As of April 2021, it is one of the Covid-19 vaccines used in India to fight against the ongoing pandemic.
Who developed the Covishield vaccine?
Covishield was developed by Oxford University's Jenner Institute and European pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The vaccine uses a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) taken from chimpanzees.
It has been modified to have similar material to the coronavirus so that once it has been injected into the body, it can teach the immune system how to fight the real virus.
When was it approved for use?
The Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was first approved for use in the UK on 30 December 2020 and deployed on 4 January 2021. It was also approved by several countries worldwide, including India.
In India, AstraZeneca’s Covishield was approved for emergency use on 1 January 2021 and began to be used at vaccination centers on 16 January 2021. It was approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
How effective is Covishield against Covid-19?
Oxford University's Jenner Institute began conducting trials on their Covid-19 vaccine in February 2020.
Phase III trials began in July 2020, and the interim results published in November 2020, showed a 70% efficacy of the vaccine (however, this was based on results of 62% and 90% that were taken from two different groups who were given different dosages).
Subsequent results from February and March 2021 showed that the vaccine had an efficacy of 76% beginning 22 days after the first dose, which increased to 81.3% after the second dose, when it was taken up to 12 weeks later.
In total, the Covishield vaccine is around 79% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, and has a 100% efficacy in stopping severe disease and hospitalization.
Covishield has also proved to be effective against the new mutant variants, including the “Indian strain” (or the B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV2), with patients showing milder illnesses post-vaccination.
Who manufactures the Covishield vaccine?
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is produced at several sites worldwide. In India, the vaccine is made under the name Covishield and is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India at Pune. From here, vaccines are also sent to numerous other Asian countries.
AstraZeneca continues to manufacture it in the UK and in the European Union, where it is sold under the name Vaxzevria.
How many doses of Covaxin are required?
How much does the Covishield vaccine cost?
The price of Covishield was initially set by the Serum Institute of India at Rs.400 per dose for state governments, and Rs.600 per dose for the private market. However, this has since been reduced to Rs.300 per dose for the state government.
The vaccines were was also made available to the central government at a rate of Rs.150 per dose.
All this means that if you are going to take this vaccine, the price may vary depending on where you get it. For example, many state governments will administer the vaccine for free at government vaccination centers, but in private hospitals, the cost for each dose will start at Rs.250.
These states include:
Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim, Bengal, Assam, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Uttarakhand.
What are the side effects of Covishield?
Taking the Covishield vaccine might cause some side effects such as headache, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, fever, chills, and nausea.
In extremely few cases in the UK, it was found that blood clots developed in people who had recently received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. However, this has been labelled a very rare vaccine side effect, and since there was no definite link, it was concluded that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risk.
How many other countries are using the Covishield vaccine?
The AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine has been granted Emergency Use Approval (EUA) in 136 countries around the world.
This includes Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
Additionally, it has also been approved by the European Medicines Agency for emergency use throughout the EU.
Quick details about Covishield Vaccine
About the Vaccine
Who developed it?
Oxford University's Jenner Institute and AstraZeneca
When was it approved in India?
1 January 2021
When was it deployed in India?
16 January 2021
Who is manufacturing this vaccine in India?
Serum Institute of India (SII)
What is in the vaccine?
A weakened version of an adenovirus from chimpanzees.
How many doses are required?
2 doses, given between 4 and 12 weeks apart.
Efficacy of the vaccine
How much does it cost?
Rs 300 per dose for state governments; and Rs 600 per dose for private hospitals.
How much will you have to pay?
Price will vary depending on vaccination center and state.
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Headache, fatigue, muscle or joint pain, fever, chills, and nausea.