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Covaxin vs Covishield – A Detailed Comparison – Efficiency, Side Effects and Much More!

Last updated on : 19 Jun, 2024

Read time : 7 min

After acceptance of the side effects by Covishield makers AstraZeneca, a recent study has highlighted the side effects of Bharat Biotech’s Covacin, a COVID-19 Vaccine that was widely used in India at COVID-19 times. When comparing Covaxin vs Covishield side effects, both vaccines have been shown to cause mild side effects such as nausea, chills, fever, and fatigue.
Covishield vaccine triggered a rare side effect such as blood clotting and lowering of platelet count. Other issues reported were upper respiratory infections and menstrual abnormalities in women. The manufacturer Bharat Biotech then emphasised the safety of its indigenous vaccine, Covaxin, aiming to alleviate public apprehensions regarding COVID vaccines.

According to the report of a one-year study on Covaxin conducted at BHU, approximately one-third of the individuals who received the jab of this vaccine reported adverse events of special Interest (AESI). These included stroke and nervous system disorders in 1% of the individuals. Upper respiratory infections were also observed in the follow-ups.

Those who have received 3 or more doses are reported to be at more risk of these side effects. But after these reports, do you need to be worried about the efficacy of these vaccines? Further research is ongoing to verify the facts. However, according to experts, these vaccines are safe, and their risks are far less than the benefits they offer. To understand these vaccines in detail, here is elaborated information on these vaccines, their differences, doses and side effects.

What is Covaxin and Covishield?

a) Covaxin

Covaxin is an inactivated COVID virus vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech, an Indian biotechnology company. It was developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). Covaxin was launched in India for emergency use in January 2021. As of now, millions of Indians have received Covaxin as part of the nationwide vaccination drive.

b) Covishield

Covishield, on the other hand, is the Indian version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is a recombinant, replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus vector. It is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer. Covishield was also launched for emergency use in January 2021. A significant portion of the population in India has received Covishield Jabs.

Differences between Covishield and Covaxin Vaccines – Which One is Better?

Both Covaxin and Covishield are effective in preventing COVID-19, but they differ in several aspects, including their composition, storage requirements, and dosing schedules.

  • Type: Covaxin uses an inactivated virus, which means the virus is killed, while Covishield uses a viral vector platform, employing a modified version of a chimpanzee adenovirus to deliver the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • Storage: Covaxin can be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius, similar to standard refrigeration. Covishield also requires storage at 2-8 degrees Celsius, making them both suitable for existing vaccine supply chains.
  • Efficacy: Both vaccines have shown strong efficacy in preventing severe COVID-19 and hospitalisations, though specific efficacy rates can vary based on different studies. Covishield efficacy rate is about 70% after the first dose, which can increase to around 90% with the second dose. Where as Covaxin has an efficacy rate of approximately 78% based on clinical trials.
ManufacturerBharat BiotechSerum Institute of India
TypeInactivated COVID virusViral vector (adenovirus)
Storage Temperature2-8°C2-8°C
Dosing Schedule2 doses, 28 days apart2 doses, 4-12 weeks apart
EfficacyVaries, but generally above 70%Around 70% after first dose, higher after second dose
Launch DateJanuary 2021January 2021

Type of Vaccines

Vaccines are divided into 6 main categories:

  • Inactivated or Killed Vaccines: These use a virus or bacteria that has been killed or inactivated. Covaxin (for COVID-19) and flu vaccines fall under this category.
  • Viral Vector Vaccines: These use a different virus to deliver instructions to our cells to produce a protein that triggers an immune response. Examples include Covishield (for COVID-19) and Johnson & Johnson (for COVID-19).
  • Live Attenuated Vaccines: These use a weakened form of the virus or bacteria that can still replicate without causing illness. The MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine falls into this category.
  • Subunit, Recombinant, Polysaccharide, and Conjugate Vaccines: These use pieces of the virus or bacteria, like protein, to create an immune response. HPV vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine fall under this category.
  • Toxoid Vaccines: These use toxins produced by the virus or bacteria that are inactivated to elicit immunity. Tetanus vaccine and diphtheria vaccine fall under this category.
  • mRNA Vaccines: These use messenger RNA to instruct cells to produce a protein that triggers an immune response. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna (for COVID-19) fall under this category.

Also Read- The Role of The Pharmaceutical Industry in Healthcare

Doses of Vaccines

Covaxin is administered in two doses, with a 28-day gap between the first and second dose.
Covishield is also administered in two doses. However, the recommended gap between the doses can range from 4 to 12 weeks. Studies have suggested that a longer interval between the doses can improve the vaccine’s efficacy.

Side Effects of Both Vaccines (Covaxin & Covishield)

Common side effects of Covaxin include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Swelling or redness at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Common side effects of Covishield include:

  • Pain and tenderness at the injection site
  • Swelling at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea

Age of Beneficiaries

Both Covaxin and Covishield have been approved for use in adults. Initially, they were administered to those above 18 years of age. Later, approvals were extended to cover older teenagers as well. It’s important to follow the latest guidelines from India’s National COVID Vaccination Program for the most accurate and up-to-date information on age eligibility.


Both Covaxin and Covishield have played vital roles in combating COVID-19 in India. While they differ in their development methods and dosing schedules, they both offer strong protection against the virus. By understanding these differences and the specifics of each vaccine, individuals can make informed decisions about their health and vaccination options. Always consult a doctor for personalised healthcare advice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which vaccine is good, Covishield or Covaxin?

Covishield vs covaxin which is better, the choice depends on availability and individual health conditions, so it’s best to consult a doctor. Both the vaccines are equally safe and effective against COVID-19.

Which vaccine is better in India?

Both Covishield and Covaxin are effective and widely used in India.

Which vaccine is better for COVID?

Both Covishield and Covaxin are equally effective for COVID-19. Some mild side effects may be noticed, which are short-term.

Which COVID-19 vaccine is the safest?

Extensive clinical trials have proven both Covishield and Covaxin safe. The safety profile is similar for both vaccines, but individual responses may vary. 

Is Covaxin the safest vaccine?

Covaxin has been shown to be safe through clinical trials and widespread use. However, trials are still ongoing to determine its safety and adverse effects. 

Is Covishield safe?

Covishield is considered safe and has been widely used with a good safety profile. As with any COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to discuss any concerns with your doctor.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.


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