A massive pan-India inoculation drive against COVID-19 will begin on January 16. On Tuesday, the process was set in process with the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) dispatching over 56 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine to 13 cities in India. The government has agreed to procure 110 lakh Covishield vaccine doses from Serum Institute at Rs 200/dose and 55 lakh doses of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, of which 38.5 lakh doses are priced at Rs 295/dose, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a presser on Tuesday.
Those being administered the vaccine will have to receive at least two doses of the vaccine. There should be a gap of 28 days between both the doses, the health ministry informed today.
On being asked whether beneficiaries will be able to choose between the two vaccines, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said no such option is available to any beneficiary in countries where more than one vaccine was being used.
"In many countries, more than one vaccine is being used. There is no such option available to any of the beneficiaries in these countries," he said.
The vaccine's effectiveness will show results 14 days after the recipient gets the second dose, the health ministry has said. "The inoculation effect takes 14 days to develop after the administration of the two dosages. Hence it is imperative to maintain COVID appropriate behavior," Bhushan said.
The government has clarified that the vaccine may cause normal side-effects. "The vaccine can have common side effects like pain and weakness," Dr. VK Paul, NITI Aayog member and Chairman of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19, said.
He said both Covishield and Covaxin have been authorized for emergency use and there should be no doubt about their safety. "They have been tested on thousands of people and side-effects are negligible. There is no risk of any significance," he said.