Where should I register for the vaccination?
Register on the Co-WIN Portal and schedule your vaccination appointment. https://www.cowin.gov.in/home.
Where can I get the vaccine from?
Vaccines are available from Government and Private Health Facilities as notified, known as COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs)
How do I pre-register myself online for an appointment for vaccination?
Online registration and appointment can be done through the Co-WIN portal.
You will have to give some basic information about yourself and details of your photo identification card to get yourself registered online.
From one mobile phone number, one can register 4 people, however, each person will need their own photo identification document.
If the Aadhar card is used as an identification document, consent will be obtained and recorded.
Through the portal, you can find out the list of available CVCs and dates and times of available vaccination slots, to book an appointment as per your choice. You will need an OTP verification prior to registration and a confirmation slip/token will be generated after registration. You will also get a confirmatory SMS later.
For all Private Hospitals, prior registration and appointment will be the only method of registration.
For Government hospitals, a proportion of slots will be available for online registration and appointment, the rest will be kept for on-site registration and vaccination.
If I cannot pre-register myself online, how do I register on the spot and get vaccinated?
Those who cannot get themselves registered online can contact their local Government health workers, who will help the beneficiaries to the Government CVC for on-the-spot registration, appointment, verification, and vaccination on the same day.
Please ask your nearest Government health care worker to guide you about the nearest Government CVC where COVID vaccination will be available and the days of the week when this will be available.
You need to carry your mobile phone and a photo identification document to get yourself vaccinated.
The workers in the Government CVC will help you to register on the spot, get an appointment, and get vaccinated on the same day.
Can a person get the COVID-19 vaccine without registration with Health Department?
No, the registration of the beneficiary is mandatory for vaccination for the COVID-19 vaccine. Once registered, notification and information about the vaccine session date and time will be shared with the beneficiary. There will be a provision for walk-in to vaccination centers but they too would need to register on-site before vaccination.
What documents are required for the registration of eligible beneficiaries?
Any of the below-mentioned ID with Photo may be produced at the time of registration:
Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Job Card
Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs
Passbooks issued by Bank/Post Office
Service Identity Card issued to employees by Central/ State Govt./ Public Limited Companies
People with comorbidities will have to carry the certificate of comorbidities, in the format shared here by a registered medical practitioner.
Will a photo ID be required at the time of registration?
The Photo ID produced at the time of registration must be produced and verified at the time of vaccination.
If a person is not able to produce a Photo ID at the session site, whether s/he be vaccinated or not?
Photo ID is a must for both registration and verification of beneficiary at session site to ensure that the intended person is vaccinated.
How will the beneficiary receive information about the due date of vaccination?
Following online registration, beneficiaries will receive SMS on their registered mobile number about the due date, place, and time of vaccination.
Will vaccinated beneficiaries receive information on the status of their vaccination after completion?
Yes. On getting the due dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number. After all doses of vaccine are administered, a QR code-based certificate will also be sent to the registered mobile number of the beneficiary.
Will I get any certificate that I am vaccinated?
Yes, a provisional certificate would be provided after the first dose. On completion of the second dose, when you receive the message for completion of schedule it would include a link to download a digital certificate of vaccination for your perusal. This certificate can be then be saved in the Digi-locker.
ABOUT THE VACCINE
Which COVID-19 vaccines are licensed in India?What
Two vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorization by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in India are Covishield® (AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin® (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited).
What is Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)/ Permission for restricted use?
Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a regulatory mechanism to allow the use of vaccines and medicines to prevent and/or reduce the impact of life-threatening diseases or conditions as caused by COVID-19. However, before the grant of the EUA, rigorous assessments of laboratory and clinical trial data, including data on quality, safety, production of protective antibodies, and efficacy are conducted. Safety is a particularly critical aspect of this scrutiny and a risk-versus-benefit evaluation is done in the context of a public health emergency. Full licensure is obtained when the manufacturer submits the complete data. EUA by Indian regulators is aligned with global guidelines.
Is the EUA a new process introduced for the COVID-19 Vaccine?
The concept of EUA always existed to save the lives of people all over the world with vaccines and medicines for life-threatening diseases while companies continue to obtain additional safety and effectiveness information to enable full licensure. Previously, EUAs have been granted vaccines for outbreaks due to Anthrax, Ebola, Enterovirus, H7N9 Influenza, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. As of January 2021, nine COVID-19 vaccines were in emergency use in numerous countries around the globe.
Have the vaccines undergone the needed clinical trials before EUA?
Both the Indian COVID-19 vaccines have completed their Phase I & II trials. Covishield® has completed its Phase III trials in The UK and the bridging trial in India.
What is Phase I, II, and III of a clinical trial for a vaccine?
Vaccine trial phases include:-
Pre-clinical: Vaccine development in laboratory animals
Phase 1 Clinical trial (small number of participants): Assess vaccine safety, immune response and determine the right dosage (short duration)
Phase 2 Clinical trial (few hundred participants): Assess safety and the ability of the vaccine to generate an immune response (short duration)
Phase 3 Clinical trial (thousands of participants): Determine vaccine effectiveness against the disease and safety in a larger group of people (duration 1-2 years)
Why vaccination is not provided to children who are the usual target?
COVID-19 affects all age groups; however, morbidity & mortality is several times higher in adults particularly in those above the age of 50 years. Children have an either asymptomatic or mild infection. The general practice is to first evaluate any new vaccine in the older population and then age reduction is done to assess the safety and effectiveness in the pediatric population. The currently available vaccines have not been evaluated in children so far. There are some clinical trials now underway to test the effectiveness and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in children.
What technology has been used in the development of the currently available two vaccines in India?
Covishield® vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, is a Viral Vector-based Technology that is also used to manufacture the Ebola vaccine.
Covaxin® vaccine, manufactured by the Bharat Biotech, is a Whole-virion Inactivated Coronavirus Vaccine which is also used to manufacture vaccines like Influenza, Rabies, and Hepatitis- A
What is the composition of both the vaccines?
The composition of Covishield includes inactivated adenovirus with segments of Coronavirus, Aluminium Hydroxide Gel, L-Histidine, L-Histidine Hydrochloride Monohydrate, Magnesium Chloride Hexahydrate, Polysorbate 80, Ethanol, Sucrose, Sodium Chloride, and Disodium Edetate Dihydrate (EDTA). The composition of Covaxin includes inactivated Coronavirus, Aluminum Hydroxide Gel, TLR 7/8 Agonist, 2-Phenoxyethanol, and Phosphate Buffered Saline [NKA1].
Both vaccines require cold chain temperature. How is the cold chain been maintained during the storage and transportation of vaccines?
Both vaccines need to be stored and transported at +20 to +8⁰ Celsius. The cold chain for both vaccines is maintained through active and passive cold chain equipment available at approximately 29000 cold chain points across India.
If I have received the vaccine as a health worker, how will my family members receive the vaccine (as they are exposed as well)?
The people at the highest risk of exposure such as health care and frontline workers will receive the vaccine on priority. This personnel is also likely a source of infection of their family members. Other family members will be vaccinated according to the age-specific prioritization by the Government of India.
Is COVISHIELD® the same as the vaccine been given in the UK by AstraZeneca?
Yes, the Covishield® vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, is based on the same patent technology as the Astrazeneca vaccine.
What is the dosing schedule of both vaccines?
The time interval between two doses of the Covishield vaccine has been extended from four-six weeks to four-eight weeks. The second dose of Covaxin can be taken four to six weeks after the first.
Do I have a choice of vaccine I will receive?
The vaccine will be supplied to various parts of India as per availability and distribution plan, beneficiaries load and so at present the option of choice of vaccine is not available
Developing a the vaccine takes years. But this time our scientists have developed a vaccine against the novel coronavirus in such a short time. How was this possible?
Developing a vaccine generally involves years of research. First, we need a vaccine candidate that is evaluated in animals for its safety and efficacy. After a vaccine candidate passes a pre-clinical trial, it enters the clinical trial phase. While scientists have worked round the clock in the laboratory, even regulatory approvals which used to take several months have been fast-tracked. It helped eliminate all the time lapses between the pre-clinical and clinical trial stages. Earlier, the vaccine development involved a series of steps, but in the case of the coronavirus vaccine, the scientists and regulators worked in tandem, accelerating the whole process without compromises on any protocols and any step.
Is a COVID-19 vaccine scheduled anytime soon for me?
The COVID-19 vaccine was launched on 16th January 2021. The first group includes healthcare and frontline workers. The second group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are persons over 60 years of age as of January 1st, 2022, and persons between 45 and 59 years with comorbid conditions. This group started receiving vaccinations on March 1st, 2021. Those who are above 45 years of age will be able to take the vaccination from April 1st, 2021.
Is it mandatory to take the vaccine?
Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of the COVID-19 vaccine for protecting oneself against this disease and also limiting the spread of this disease to close contacts including family members, friends, relatives, and co-workers.
Will the vaccine be safe as it is being tested and introduced in a short span of time?
Vaccines will be introduced in the country only after the regulatory bodies clear them based on their safety and efficacy.
Out of the multiple vaccines available, how is one or more vaccines chosen for administration?
The safety and efficacy data from clinical trials of vaccine candidates are examined by the Drug Regulator of our country before granting the license for the same. Hence, all the COVID-19 vaccines that receive licenses will have comparable safety and efficacy. However, it must be ensured that the entire schedule of vaccination is completed by only one type of vaccine as different COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable.
Will, the vaccine introduced in India be as effective as the ones introduced in other countries?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine introduced in India will be as effective as any vaccine developed by other countries. Various phases of vaccine trials are undertaken to ensure its safety and efficacy.
Indian regulators have given authorization to Covaxin even before its Phase 3 trial results were out. How do we explain this?
We are passing through the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has caused social disruption, an economic downturn, and a significant number of deaths. To control this pandemic, the society, as well as the system, may have to take steps that may also be termed as drastic. Both pre-clinical and clinical data (complete data for Phase I and II, and partial data for Phase III) of Covaxin has been thoroughly scrutinized by the regulators. This data shows that the vaccine is safe and induces a robust antibody response. However, to what extent the vaccine will protect the recipients from getting the disease is not fully known yet. Therefore, the regulators have allowed its use in trial mode.
WHO WILL GET THE VACCINE?
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be given to everyone simultaneously?
Based on the potential availability of vaccines the Government of India has selected the priority groups who will be vaccinated on priority as they are at higher risk. The first group includes healthcare and frontline workers. The second group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be persons over 60 years of age and persons between 45 and 59 years of age with comorbid conditions.
Can a person presently having COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) infection be vaccinated?
A person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection may increase the risk of spreading the same to others at the vaccination site. For this reason, infected individuals should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptom resolution.
Is it necessary for a COVID-19 recovered person to take the vaccine? And if I had a COVID-19 infection and was treated, why should I receive the vaccine?
Yes, it is advisable to receive a complete schedule of the COVID-19 vaccine irrespective of past history of infection with COVID-19. This will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease. Development of immunity or duration of protection after COVID-19 exposure is not established therefore it is recommended to receive the vaccine even after COVID-19 infection. Wait for 4-8 weeks after recovery from COVID symptoms before getting the vaccine.
How will I know if I am eligible for vaccination?
In the initial phase, the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to the priority group - Health Care and Front-line workers. The second phase of vaccinations, starting March 1, 2021, will allow for all Indians above the age of 60 and Indians between the age of 45 and 59 with comorbidities to be vaccination dated. Registrations will be allowed on the Co-WIN 2.0 Portal, Aarogya Setu app, etc.
The comorbidities that make a person eligible for vaccinations are listed below:
Heart Failure with hospital admission in the past year
Post Cardiac Transplant/Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
Significant Left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVEF <40%)
Moderate or Severe Valvular Heart Disease
Congenital heart disease with severe PAH or Idiopathic PAH
Coronary Artery Disease with past CABG/PTCA/MI AND Hypertension/Diabetes on treatment
Angina AND Hypertension/Diabetes on treatment
CT/MRI documented stroke AND Hypertension/Diabetes on treatment
Pulmonary Artery Hypertension AND Hypertension/Diabetes on treatment
Diabetes (> 10 years OR with complications) AND Hypertension on treatment
Kidney/ Liver/ Hematopoietic stem cell transplant: Recipient/On wait-list
End-Stage Kidney Disease on hemodialysis/ CAPD
Current prolonged use of oral corticosteroids/ immunosuppressant medications
Severe respiratory disease with hospitalizations in last two years/FEV1 <50%
Lymphoma/ Leukaemia/ Myeloma
Diagnosis of any solid cancer on or after 1st July 2020 OR currently on any cancer therapy
Sickle Cell Disease/ Bone marrow failure/ Aplastic Anemia/ Thalassemia Major
Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases/ HIV infection
What are the contraindications for this vaccine?
Persons with a history of:
Anaphylactic or allergic reaction to a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine
Immediate or delayed-onset anaphylaxis or allergic reaction to vaccines or injectable therapies, pharmaceutical products, food items, etc.
Pregnancy & Lactation:
Pregnant & Lactating women have not been part of any COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial so far. Therefore, women who are pregnant or not sure of their pregnancy; and lactating women should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time
In these conditions, COVID-19 vaccination is to be deferred for 4-8 weeks after recovery
Persons having active symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
SARS-COV-2 patients who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma
Acutely unwell and hospitalized (with or without intensive care) patients due to any illness.
The Health Ministry has advised caution in vaccinating persons with a history of bleeding or coagulation disorder. How does a person know if he/she has a coagulation disorder? What tests can be conducted?
There are a few bleeding disorders like 'hemophilia'. These persons should take the vaccine under the supervision of their treating physician. Patients who are admitted to the hospital or ICU and have bleeding problems should delay the vaccination till they are discharged. However, several people with heart and brain disorders are on blood thinners like aspirin and antiplatelet drugs. They can continue with their medicines and have the vaccines. For them, vaccines are absolutely safe.
The health advisory also states that those with immunity issues should be cautious about taking the vaccine. What are the markers of 'Immunity issues'?
Immune issues are of two types: one, immunosuppression due to any disease such as AIDS, and people on immunosuppressant drugs such as anti-cancer drugs, steroids, etc. Second, immunodeficiency in people who suffers from some defect in the body's protective system such as congenital immunodeficiency.
Currently, available COVID-19 vaccines do not have any live virus and therefore individuals with immune issues can have the vaccine safely. But the vaccine may not be as effective in them. One should inform the vaccinator about the medicines they consume and if they are suffering from any known immune issues. The vaccinator should have a record of one’s medical condition.
HOW WILL WE BE VACCINATED?
Out of the multiple vaccines available, how is one or more vaccine chosen for administration?
The safety and efficacy data from clinical trials of vaccine candidates are examined by Drug regulator of our country before granting the license for the same. Hence, all the COVID-19 vaccines that receive license will have comparable safety and efficacy. However, it must be ensured that the entire schedule of vaccination is completed by only one type of vaccine as different COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable.
Does India have the capacity to store the COVID-19 vaccine at temperature of +2 to +8 degree Celsius and transport them at required temperature?
India runs one of the largest Immunization programme in the world, catering to the vaccination needs of more than 26 million newborns and 29 million pregnant women. The programme mechanisms are being strengthened/geared up to effectively cater to the country’s large and diverse population.
Are there any preventive measures and precautions that one needs to follow at the session site?
We request you to rest at the vaccination centre for atleast half an hour after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Inform the nearest health authorities/ANM/ASHA in case you feel any discomfort or uneasiness subsequently. Remember to continue following key COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviours like wearing of mask, maintaining hand sanitization and physical distance (or 6 feet or Do Gaj).
WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE VACCINATION?
What does trial mode mean for a vaccine recipient?
The way we do in a clinical trial phase: first, the recipient will be asked to give written consent. Additionally, the recipient will be followed up actively to see if the vaccine has led to any side effects. In short, it will be an extension of the Phase 3 trial. But in this, the person would know that he or she has received the vaccine and not the placebo. It is completely voluntary.
What is the safety and efficacy of the vaccines used in the country?
To ensure that a vaccine is safe, we need to try it on a large number of people. The vaccine developers have not reduced the sample size at any stage of clinical trials rather it was bigger than what we usually test a vaccine on.
When a vaccine is tested, most of the adverse events or unwanted effects, if any, occur in the first four to six weeks of its administration. So, in order to ensure that it is safe, we keep a close watch, for the first two-three months, on the people it has been given to. This data helps us decide if a vaccine is safe. All concerned in the line of vaccine development, testing, and evaluation have followed these procedures to the T. Both Indian vaccines are considered safe on this yardstick.
As for the efficacy of the vaccine, we need time to tell how effective a vaccine is. All the global agencies have set the benchmark that only those vaccine candidates who show the efficacy of at least 50-60% will be considered. Most of the vaccines have shown the efficacy of 70-90% within the short period of two to three months of observation. Besides when a vaccine is given an emergency use authorizations/permission for restricted use, as in the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, the trial follow-up continues for one-two years to assess the total duration of protection the vaccine will provide.
Which vaccine is better between Covisheild and Covaxin?
There is no head-to-head comparison done between the two vaccines being used in India so one cannot choose one over the other. Both would work fine in preventing the infection as well as prevent a person from going into a severe state of the disease. As a long-term effect, it would be preventing death for elderly people or those who have comorbidities.
What medications should be avoided before taking the COVID-19 vaccine and for how long?
Currently, there is no such instruction. One can take one’s regular medication uninterruptedly. Just inform the vaccinator about the medicines you consume.
Is the vaccine contraindicated in people with chronic diseases?
Chronic diseases and morbidities like cardiac, neurological, pulmonary, metabolic, renal and malignancies, etc. are not contraindicated. In fact, the benefit of COVID-19 vaccines to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death is for those who have these comorbidities.
If one is taking medicines for illnesses like Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension, etc, can s/he take the COVID-19 vaccine and/or If I suffer from HTN/DM/CKD/heart disease/lipid disorders, etc., can I safely take this vaccine?
Yes, persons with one or more of these comorbid conditions are considered among the high-risk category. They need to get COVID-19 vaccination. Overall, the vaccine is safe and efficacious in adults with comorbidity. The maximum benefit of getting the COVID-19 vaccine is for those who have such co-morbidities. However, if you are concerned for any specific reason, please consult your doctor.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER VACCINATION?
Do I need to use the mask/other COVID-19 appropriate precautions after receiving the vaccine?
Yes, it is absolutely necessary that everyone who has received the COVID-19 vaccine should continue to follow the COVID-19 appropriate behavior i.e., mask, do gay ki door, and hand sanitization to protect themselves and those around from spreading the infection.
How long I will remain protected after vaccination?
The longevity of the immune response in vaccinated individuals is yet to be determined. Hence, continuing the use of masks, handwashing, physical distancing, and other COVID-19 appropriate behaviors are strongly recommended.
Does vaccination protect me against newer strains / mutated viruses of SARS-CoV 2?
The body responds to vaccination by making more than one type of antibody to virus parts including spike protein. Therefore, all vaccines are expected to provide a reasonable amount of protection against the mutated virus also. Based on the available data the mutations as reported are unlikely to make the vaccine ineffective.
In how many days will the vaccination create an adequate immune response and protection?
Adequate immune response takes 2-3 weeks after completion of the entire vaccination schedule i.e., after the second dose of COVISHIELD® and COVAXIN®.
Should you avoid alcohol after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
As per experts, there is no evidence of alcohol impairing the effectiveness of the vaccine.
Will the vaccination create an adequate immune response and protection?
Adequate immune response takes 2-3 weeks after completion of the entire vaccination schedule i.e., after the second dose of COVISHIELD® and COVAXIN®.
What precautions do I need to take after receiving the vaccine?
Both the vaccines are safe but in case of any discomfort or complaint, ask the beneficiary to visit the nearest health facility and/or call the health worker whose phone number is given in the Co-WIN SMS received after vaccination.
Is it important for me to receive the same vaccine during the second dose?
As the vaccines available are not interchangeable, it is important to receive the second dose of the same vaccine as the first one. The Co-WIN portal is also going to help to ensure that everyone receives the same vaccine.
Does this vaccine provide herd immunity?
When an increasing number of people get vaccinated in the community, indirect protection through herd immunity develops. The percentage of people who need to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity varies with each disease. For example, it's 95% for measles, however, the proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not known.