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COVID-19 update | Covishield comprises over 90% of 12.76 crore vaccines administered so far

Of this, 15 states and union territories have only given Covishield, being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Instiute of India.

April 21, 2021 / 10:30 PM IST

Covishield, from the Oxford/AstraZeneca stable, comprises over 90 per cent of the 12.76 crore COVID-19 vaccines administered across the country so far, according to government data on Wednesday. Of this, 15 states and union territories have only given Covishield, being manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Instiute of India. The other vaccine being administered in India is the indigenous Covaxin from Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad.

Giving details, of the 127,605,870 COVID-19 vaccination jabs administered till now, 11,60,65,107 are of Covishield while 1,15,40,763 are of Covaxin, according to the government's CO-WIN portal. Moreover, about 15 states and union territories, including Goa, Chandigarh and Jammu and Kashmir, have administered only Covishield to its beneficiaries.

COVID-19 vaccine | Serum Institute's Covishield priced at Rs 400 per dose for states; Rs 600/dose for private hospitals

Experts said Covishield is being produced at a much higher scale than Covaxin due to which its availability is more. Dr Samiran Panda, the Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research, said soon the production of Covaxin will be ramped up.

"Following which, the vaccine production capacity will increase significantly," he said. Bharat Biotech on Tuesday said capacity expansion has been implemented across multiple facilities in Hyderabad and Bangalore, to reach approximately 700 million doses per year.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The Department of Biotechnology is also providing financial support as grants to vaccine manufacturing facilities for enhanced production capacities. "The current production capacity of indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine will be doubled by May-June 2021 and then increased nearly 6-7 fold by July-August 2021 i.e increasing the production from 10 million vaccine doses in April, 2021 to 60-70 million vaccine dose per month in July-August," said the ministry of science and technology in a statement on Monday.

India granted emergency use authorisation to Covaxin and Covishield, following which the vaccination drive started in the country on January 16. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar were among those administered Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
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