COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet
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COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet Published by SII and Bharat Biotech

India started its coronavirus vaccination drive on 16th January 2021, and more than 6.3 lakh individuals have received the vaccine. Covishield and Covaxin are the vaccines being administered and reported to confer allergies and adverse reactions to their beneficiaries. As a result of this, SII (Serum Institute of India) and Bharat Biotech have published ‘fact-sheets’ informing future recipients about the benefits and risks.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the 2 vaccines’ first dose had been received by more than 3.8 lakh beneficiaries by 18th January, 5 pm. AEFI (adverse events following immunization) following vaccination were 580 in number, which was mostly expected allergy-like reactions to the vaccine.

Individuals who are extremely allergic to any of the Covishield vaccine components were advised not to take it by SII. The COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet by SII advised individuals having had a severe adverse reaction to the first vaccination dose not to receive the 2nd dose. The company revealed the vaccine’s ingredients: Ethanol, L-Histidine, Magnesium chloride hexahydrate, Polysorbate 80, L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, Sucrose, Water for injection, and Disodium edetate dihydrate (EDTA).

Vaccine beneficiaries are advised by the company to inform the healthcare

worker about any pre-existing medical conditions or allergies to any food, drug, any Covishield vaccine ingeredient/s, or any other vaccine before vaccination. The company also advised them to inform the healthcare worker about any bleeding disorder, fever, immunocompromised condition, or any medication they are on, such as a blood thinner or immune system-affecting drug. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are also advised to inform the healthcare worker prior to vaccination. The beneficiary is also advised to inform about any other coronavirus vaccination taken earlier.

The COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet by Bharat Biotech similarly advised individuals with a history of fever, allergies, immunity-compromised condition, blood disorders, and those on medication or blood thinners not to take Covaxin. The officer supervising vaccination or the vaccinator who has identified an individual having any severe health issue is not supposed to allow that individual or lactating/pregnant women, or those who have earlier received other vaccines, to take a Covaxin jab.

This document published by Bharat Biotech also lists out possible side effects upon being vaccinated and also a list of individuals ineligible or eligible for Covaxin administration. Expected adverse effects include headache, nausea, fever, vomiting, rashes, and body aches. Severe adverse/allergic reactions having a remote possibility include dizziness, difficulty in breathing, rapid heartbeat rate, swelling of throat/face, weakness, and rashes all over the body.

What was highlighted by the company along with the COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet was that the clinical efficacy of Covaxin hasn’t been established as yet, and advised individuals to follow other coronavirus-related precautions even if they were vaccinated.

Side effects of vaccination

Pain, tenderness, warmth, itching, redness, bruising, or swelling at the site of injection. Fever
A general feeling of unwellness Bodyache
Feverish feeling or chills Headache
Fatigue (tiredness) Malaise
Nausea (vomiting sensation) Nausea
Vomiting Weakness
Fever Vomiting
Headache Rashes
Lump at the site of injection Weakness in the injection arm
Muscle ache or joint pain Upper arm stiffness
Abdominal pain, decrease in appetite, dizziness Pain at the site of injection
Flu-like symptoms including chills, runny nose, sore throat, cough, and high temperature Swelling at the site of injection
Rashes, itchy skin, or excessive sweating Redness at the site of injection
Lymph nodes enlarged Itching at the site of injection

IMA pushes for an ‘aggressive’ awareness campaign 

The IMA (Indian Medical Association) pressing on AEFI reports. There were 3 cases requiring hospitalization. IMA members were encouraged to raise awareness about the two vaccines through media, public forums, and social media. These precautions are beside the COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet published by the two manufacturers.

Dr.Jaesh Lele, the honorary secretary-general of IMA, said that the association stands by the government’s decision to prioritize vaccinating frontline workers and healthcare workers. He also emphasized that in the past year, the IMA has lost 732 doctors before we could have the vaccine. A modern-medicine professional body such as IMA considers it a responsibility to battle against misinformation regarding the virus and the vaccines.

The Hindu quoted the IMA saying basic facts such as immunity development and decrease in disease contraction risk conferred by the vaccines must be brought to the public’s attention. They should be aware of the preventive and scientific basis of the vaccines.

Despite the COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet publication, the vaccination drive has received a rather sluggish response in several states. Officials have admitted that even primary beneficiaries of the 2 vaccines, i.e., the healthcare and frontline workers display hesitation. Meanwhile, few glitches in the Co-WIN app (used to co-ordinate the campaign) have been observed. The Hindu reported an official stating that correct information released by the government and the awareness campaign that is underway will address and attempt to dispel this hesitation.