STATUTORY WARNING:

I am not a doctor, or in any way connected to any medical industry or any government program related to Covid vaccine management.

The first point to note is that Covid 19 is only one of the existing corona viruses.

Some version of common cold is also caused by a corona virus.

There are two vaccines in india

Covishield

And

Covaxin

Covishield is the vaccine developed by Astra Zeneca company with help of Oxford University. Its first usage approval was in UK. It was the first vaccine approved for usage in India in January.

Covishield uses the weakened version of Adenovirus, a type of common cold virus, isolated from Chimpanzees. Once injected it forces our body to make antibodies against the corona viruses also.

Covaxin is developed in India by Bharat biotech. It was totally India developed and tested. It was also approved for use in India in January.

This vaccine is based on the same medical principles of other vaccines in use for other diseases. It uses the dead corona virus for making the doses. Once injected, the body recognised the dead virus and creates antibodies.

The controversy regarding Covaxin was in January because at that time, it was undergoing third phase trials. When it was approved for emergency use, all and sundry started condemning the move without having any solid basis for their ideas.

The doctors who have never had any expertise is immunology and have never read a research paper, and whose only idea of new medicines has been gained by medical representative throughout their career, became sudden experts on vaccine efficacy and started voicing expert opinions claiming doubts.

By some measures, it was motivated too, by the underlying Lobby which treats anything done in India as inherently suspect.

Covishield was developed in the so called developed countries so it was treated as better, in January when all this started.

Current scenario

Covaxin third phase trials results are out, it has 81% efficacy, which is treated as a good result. The chances of adverse event is less as it uses dead viruses. The second phase trial result was published in Lancet journal, so it has suddenly become more acceptable.

Covishield has been having rough day these days. It was temporarily suspended in country after country in Europe recently. Some such countries include Denmark, Germany, France, Spain and many others. But the European drug regulator and WHO have stressed its safety at all times. The issue was formation of blood clots in some European population group, which has not yet been proved.

In short, Covishield is also safe and there have been no issues in India during its extensive and widespread usage.

The medical community of researchers are not paragons of virtue, and this fact results in a confusing scenario for lay people like us, as we get bombarded by diverse opinions and we can’t make out which is more reliable?

For example,

There was data a few weeks ago that a bigger gap of 8 weeks than the prevailing 4 weeks for covishield gives a better protection. It was established in a trial with 17000 people.

A big Lobby of medical experts claimed that this data size is not enough to take a decision for people.

Some logical thinking is needed here.

Suppose there is a deadly disease, which is not as contagious as Covid. So it affects thousands of people, not millions like corona. So, in that case, if there are trials with hundreds of cases, it will be perfectly acceptable to medical sector and medicines will be easily approved with trial of a few thousand at the most.

Only because there are millions of patients available in Covid case, how can the trial with

17000 persons be not enough.

Going back decades, how many medicines have had such high number of trial participants.

This fact must have been realised by someone and so now we have the recommendation about spacing the Covishield as minimum 8 weeks.

So what can one do?

Both are safe.

Both are effective.

Both are made in India

Covaxin was tested on Indians.

Covishield was tested in UK and Brazil. They promised to do a Bridging study in India, but I have no knowledge of that result.

It is now confirmed that all the hungama about doubts on Covaxin was unfounded. ( I strongly believe that it was malicious too, but that is medically irrelevant).

It will be confirmed later that all the brauhaha about Covishield in Europe is also a storm in a teacup.

Some pointers

TN health secretary publicly took Covaxin very early, when there was a combined effort to derail its delivery.

TN health minister and Chief minister have taken Covaxin.

My parents and in-laws- all 75 plus age group, have taken Covishield in Bihar.

The availability or otherwise is probably mostly due to logistical issues.

That is the sum total of my gyan on this issue.

Repeat of statutory warning

I am not a doctor, or in any way connected to any medical industry or any government program related to Covid vaccine management.