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A Study to Ascertain the Best Vaccine for Covid-19

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Wondering which one is the best vaccine for COVID-19 for you to take? With several options to choose from it is quite natural to get confused. Let us discuss some of the most prevalent vaccines being administered in India and try to find out currently which vaccine is best for COVID-19. We will be comparing Covishield, Sputnik V, Covaxin, and also Moderna, which is about to be introduced in India.

Determining the Best Vaccine for COVID19 Based on Various Parameters

I. Manufacturing Process– All four vaccines are made differently. Covishield vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. It uses an adenovirus ChAD0x1 specifically found in Chimpanzees. It delivers spike proteins to mount a tolerable immune response to a live virus.

Manufacturing Process

Covaxin also uses an inactive viral strain similar to Covishield. In other words, both of these vaccines are made based on traditional vaccine-build platforms.

Sputnik is made using a weakened strain of the common cold virus, i.e. adenovirus. It is also meant to spike a tolerable immune response.

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Moderna is made using innovative messenger RNA or mRNA technology. It makes the cells build a harmless fragment of the spike protein quite similar to coronavirus and simultaneously prompts an immune response.

II. Efficacy Rate– Covishield has a proven efficacy rate of 70% and can scale up to 91% after the second dose is administered 8-12 weeks apart from the first jab. It also mounts a higher level of antibody response and avoids severe outcomes.

Covaxin shows an efficacy rate of 78% and when both the doses are administered, it can prove to be 100% effective in offering protection against mortality and severity.

Efficacy Rate

Sputnik V demonstrated an efficacy rate between 78.6% to 83.7% as per case studies and trials conducted.

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The mRNA-1273 of Moderna has proven to be the most effective of all its variants with an efficacy rate of over 91%. Immunity response gets even better after the second dose.

III. Protection and Prevention against the Delta Variant– Unfortunately all the vaccines have shown less efficacious against the Delta variant.

Covishield’s efficacy has dropped to 65%, Covaxin’s to 61%, and Sputnik V’s to an insignificant extent. Moderna is being able to neutralize antibodies against such Variants of Concern or VoCs. It offers a significant level of protection.

IV. Pricing– Covid-19 vaccines are free of cost at government hospitals and institutions. However, they are available at a certain price point elsewhere. Thus, pricing is also an important factor to consider.

The maximum that anybody can charge for Covishield is Rs. 780, Sputnik V is Rs. 1145, Covaxin is Rs. 1,410 and Moderna is yet to be available in India but it is expected to be the most expensive of all.

V. Side Effects– The side effects are said to be reactogenic and cease to exist within 2-3 days. However, side-effects are to be considered as well before choosing a vaccine as they vary from one brand to another and can differ as per intensity.

 Side Effects

Covishield prompts a relatively higher antibody response after the first dose and hence the intensity of side-effects may be higher than others. Covaxin has relatively fewer side effects as with Sputnik V. Moderna also has a similar level of side effects like Covishield including rarer but serious side effects like heart inflammation and blood clots.

The side-effects that people can have normally are chills, low-grade fever, malaise, fatigue, headache, body pain, nausea, etc. Moderna vaccine could lead to the unusual side-effect known as the ‘Covid arm’.

VI. Offering Highest Level of Immunity and Protection– There is not much clarity about the amount of time any of these vaccines can provide immunity or protection from infection, mortality, and severity. However, as per observations, Moderna could be capable of offering immunity for a longer time and may not even need a booster dose. On the other hand, if people take the booster dose of Covishield from 10 months of the first shot may enjoy a significant boost in antibody count and enjoy lasting immunity.

VII. Making the Choice– After studying the pros and cons of all the vaccines decide which vaccine is best for Covid for you. It is to be noted that the factors for choosing a particular vaccine depend on the pre-conditions, age, and financial prospects of the person. If you have certain health concerns or are immunocompromised, talk to a doctor before taking any vaccine.

Making the Choice

There might be some vaccines that would offer better protection and longer-lasting immunity considering particular health conditions. It becomes all the more important to seek medical guidance if you are prone to allergies or at risk from COVID-19 vaccines.

Bottom Line

Since, you have not taken any vaccine probably or maybe looking for the best vaccine for Covid for a dear one, go for the first available option. Of course, if there are no major health concerns that the vaccine might trigger adversely.

Delaying vaccination to be able to choose the most effective one after all the vaccines are available could be a risky choice. It has now become more important to take a vaccine since there is a scare of the third wave and Omicron becoming the dominant variant.

The faster people get vaccinated whether or not by administering the best vaccine for Covid, the better the chances of minimizing the danger of any further mutations and VoCs.

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