India is set to start its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16 with two vaccines - Covishield and COVAXIN. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had on January 3 granted emergency use authorisation to the two COVID-19 vaccines developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), and Bharat Biotech, respectively.
According to the government, 1.1 crore vials of Covishield and 55 lakh vials of Bharat Biotech have been ordered.
Further, the Centre said while it is assigning proportion of Covishield and COVAXIN for states and Union territories, state governments can take their own call on how to distribute both the vaccines among their priority groups. It, however, cautioned that doses cannot be mixed, i.e. an individual who got first shot of Covishield will have to get a second shot also of Covishield.
Here's a look at what states have received and what they have planned:
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
>> Delhi: A senior government official said "Covishield will be the default option" with COVAXIN being used "if need arises". The national capital has recieved 2,54,540 doses of Covishield and 20,000 doses of COVAXIN.
>> Punjab has only received stock for Covishield (2,04,000 doses), said Rajesh Bhaskar, state programming officer for COVID-19.
>> Officials of Mumbai's Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) also said they have received stock of Covishield and will hence be using only that vaccine.
>> Maharashtra has received 9.63 lakh doses of Covishield and another 20,000 doses of COVAXIN.
>> Andhra Pradesh has cited fewer doses of COVAXIN as the reason for prioritising Covishield. State Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar said they have received 4.7 lakh doses of Covishield and 20,000 doses of COVAXIN.
>> In Telangana, state health official said Covishield will be used for healthcare workers, but COVAXIN might be used for "special groups such as senior politicians and government officials". The official said faith in Bharat Biotech's vaccine is high, because it was developed in the state capital of Hyderabad.
>> In Chattisgarh, State Health Minister TS Singh Deo expressed concern over the lack of efficacy data for COVAXIN, and said it is "not safe to use any vaccine still in trial mode". The state will hence be using Covishield predominantly.
>> Rajasthan has received 5,62,500 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, including 20,000 doses of COVAXIN.
>> Sikkim has so far got 1,250 vials of Covishield in the first batch.
>> Haryana has so far received 2.41 lakh doses of Covishield in its first batch.
>> Uttarakhand has got 1,13,000 doses of Covishield.
>> Manipur has received 54,000 doses of Covishield vaccine.
>> Kerala has received 4.33 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine.
>> Gujarat has got 5.40 lakh doses of Covishield.
>> Puducherry has received 17,500 doses of Covishield vaccine, and it would be used in Puducherry and Karaikal regions, officials said.
>> Jammu and Kashmir has received the first consignment of 1.46 lakh doses of Covishield.
>> Tripura recieved the first consignment of 56,500 doses of Covishield vaccine.
>> Madhya Pradesh has received 94,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine for the first phase.
>> Assam has received 12,000 doses of COVAXIN and 2.40 lakh vials of Covishield for itself and Meghalaya.
>> Karnataka has received 6.48 lakh doses of Covishield.
>> Odisha received 20,000 vials of COVAXIN and 4.08 lakh doses of Covishield.
>> Goa got its first consignment of 23,000 doses of Covishield.
>> West Bengal recieved 10 lakh doses of Covishield as part of the first consignment, of which 3.11 doses are for the neighbouring states.
>> Mizoram got 18,500 Covishield vials in first phase.
>> Bihar received 54,900 vials of Covishield vaccines.
>> Tamil Nadu got 5,36,500 doses of Covishield and 20,000 doses of COVAXIN.
>> Telangana received 3.64 lakh doses of Covishield as part of the first consignment.
>> Uttar Pradesh has received around 1.6 lakh doses of Covishield.
The Health Ministry on January 14 had clarified that both the approved vaccines will be treated at par.
Asked if the recipients would have the option to choose between the two vaccines, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, "There is no such option available to any of the beneficiaries in any country."
Vinod K. Paul, head of the Centre's Vaccine Strategy Panel told Reuters, "No vaccine is a backup to the other - both vaccines are equally important, both vaccines are hugely immunogenic. They excite immunity against the virus."
Paul added that as of now, India is not allowing vaccine takers to choose between the two options and defended moving ahead with the COVAXIN, which Bharat Biotech developed with the Indian Council of Medical Research, saying all COVID-19 vaccines in the world, including those by Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc, are administered under emergency authorisation.
“The scientific rigour under the circumstances of the pandemic has been respected in a robust manner,” Paul said. “There is no pressure” on India’s regulator, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization. “They take decisions based on science and regulatory norms.”Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here