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Covid-19 Vaccination Drive Begins Today: Centre Lists Dos and Don'ts, Possible Side Effects

Officials arrange boxes containing vials of COVISHIELD inside a cold storage room at a vaccination storage centre in Ahmedabad. (Reuters)

Officials arrange boxes containing vials of COVISHIELD inside a cold storage room at a vaccination storage centre in Ahmedabad. (Reuters)

PM Modi will kick-off India's massive COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday (January 16) via video conferencing, even as adequate doses of Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' and Serum Institute's 'Covishield' vaccines have been delivered across the country to all states and Union territories.

As India prepares to start vaccinating healthcare workers against Covid-19 starting Saturday, the Union health ministry has laid down list of precautions and contraindications for the inoculation, along with a comparative factsheet for both the vaccines - Covishield and Covaxin.

The rulebook contains information on vaccine platform, physical specifications, dosage, cold-chain storage requirements, contraindications and minor AEFIs (adverse event following immunisation).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kick-off India's massive COVID-19 vaccination drive on Saturday (January 16) via video conferencing, even as adequate doses of Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' and Serum Institute's 'Covishield' vaccines have been delivered across the country to all states and Union territories.

Here is a walk-through of the Covid-19 vaccination rulebook

- A dose of Covishield and CoVaxin may cost in the range of ₹200 to 295 in India. The full initial procurement amount of 1.65 crore doses of COVISHIELD and COVAXIN vaccines have been allocated to all states and Union Territories in the proportion of Health Care Workers database, the Health Ministry has said.

- In a letter to all states and Union territories, the Health Ministry underlined that the coronavirus vaccination is indicated only for 18 years and above under the emergency use authorisation. Besides, interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines is not permitted, the ministry said. “Second dose should also be of the same COVID-19 vaccine which was administered as the first dose," the letter written by Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary, Health Ministry said.

- The Health Ministry cautioned about mild side effects following vaccination for both the vaccines. In case of Covishied, some mild adverse effects may occur like injection site tenderness, injection site pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia, malaise, pyrexia, chills and arthralgia and nausea.

- Some mild adverse effects in case of Covaxin include injection site pain, headache, fatigue, fever, body ache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, dizziness-giddiness, tremor, sweating, cold, cough and injection site swelling. Paracetamol may be used to provide symptomatic relief from post vaccination adverse reactions, the letter added.

- If required, COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines should be separated by an interval of at least 14 days.

- "Pregnant and lactating women have not been a part of any COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial so far. Therefore, women who are pregnant or not sure of their pregnancy and lactating women should not receive COVID-19 vaccine at this time," the letter stated.

- The vaccine should be administered with caution in persons with a history of any bleeding or coagulation disorder (like clotting factor deficiency, coagulopathy or platelet disorder, it said.

- "Following conditions are not contraindicated for COVID-19 vaccines -- persons with past history of SARS-CoV-2 infection and or RT-PCR positive illness, history of chronic diseases and morbidities and immuno-deficiency, HIV, patients on immune suppression due to any condition," the letter stated.

- The government's vaccination app, CO-WIN, will initially be accessible to healthcare workers alone and will be open to usage for the general public within a month. The Co-WIN app is the backbone of the mega vaccination drive and is designed to enable citizens to self-register for the Covid-19 vaccination process,

- Besides the COVID warriors, the app will effectively be used by central and state governments to implement the inoculation drive.

- The Union Health Ministry has asked programme managers to ensure that the information about precautions and contraindications for COVID-19 vaccination should be disseminated to across all levels and through them to cold-chain handlers and vaccinators for ready reference.

- The ministry cautioned against administration of the vaccine in persons with a history of anaphylactic or allergic reaction to a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and in those with immediate or delayed onset anaphylaxis or allergic reaction to vaccines or injectable therapies, pharmaceutical products, food items, among others.

- As per the Health Ministry’s letter, in case of persons having active symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection, coronavirus infected patients who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma and acutely unwell and hospitalised patients due to any illness, the COVID-19 vaccination is to be deferred for four to eight weeks after recovery.

Earlier this week, the Centre finalised purchase orders for 1.65 crore Covid-19 vaccines – 1.10 crore Covishield doses and 55 lakh Covaxin doses. The purchase order set off one of the most crucial steps ahead of the first phase of vaccination -- that of transporting the vaccines across the length and breadth of the country.

first published:January 15, 2021, 12:29 IST