Covaxin vs Covishield: A Detailed Comparison of Efficacy, Side Effects

Covaxin Vs Covishield:- What’s the Difference? This article provides an in-depth comparison between Covaxin and Covishield vaccines.

While it’s been long since the COVID-19 vaccination drive has begun in India, the debate on which vaccine is better is still going on. In this article, we compare Covaxin and Covishield- mainly the efficacy, dosage, and side effects of each.

Covaxin vs Covishield

Both Covaxin and Covishield are homegrown and were granted emergency use authorization by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in India. 

They may also be termed relatively safe when compared to other modern vaccines and have a lower than usual risk of side effects.

Covaxin vs Covishield Side Effects

About 12% of subjects who took Covaxin experience commonly known mild side effects. Less than 0.5% of subjects experience serious adverse effects. Moreover, safety analysis shows that the adverse effects reported were similar to placebo.

Covaxin and Covishield Efficacy Rate

Covaxin can be 78-93% effective after the second dose while the efficacy of Covishield after the second dose can be between 70-95%. Both Covishield and Covaxin are said to be effective against the delta variant.

What Is the Difference Between Covaxin and Covishield?

Covaxin is an inactivated viral vaccine, whereas Covishield is prepared using a viral vector platform.

The interval between doses is 4 to 6 weeks for Covaxin and 12 weeks for Covishield.

How Effective Is Covishield?

The efficacy of Covishield is between 78-93%. 

How Effective Is Covaxin?

Covaxin has demonstrated 63.6%, 77.8%, and 93.4% vaccine efficacy against asymptomatic COVID-19, symptomatic COVID-19, and severe symptomatic COVID-19 respectively. 

What to Know About Covishield?

Covishield is a ChAdOx1 nCoV- 19 CoronaVirus Vaccine (Recombinant) is being manufactured by Serum Institute of India under technology transfer from Oxford- AstraZeneca. 

It is a novel technology and has been used to prepare vaccines for viruses like Ebola.

Covishield contains Genetically modified organisms (GMO) and once open, can be stored between 2 to 25℃ for up to 6 hours. 

How Does Covishield Work?

Covishield is a recombinant viral vector vaccine. The chimpanzee adenovirus (ChAdOx1) was modified to enable it to carry and deliver COVID-19 spike protein into the cells of the human body. 

While it is incapable of infecting the receiver, it will mount an immune response.

You will be given the Covishield jab intramuscularly only, preferably the deltoid muscle (the muscle forming a rounded contour on the shoulder). 

Efficacy of Covishield

Covishield has passed through all 3 phases of the study. The efficacy of the Covishield vaccine is 70.42% (90% as per global reports).

A study conducted by the ICMR also revealed that individuals who received both doses of Covishield have better immunity against the delta variant.

What Are the Side Effects of Covishield?

Some mild side effects might occur after taking Covishield like  [1

  • Injection site pain/tenderness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pains

A few uncommon side effects, which might affect about 1 in 100 people are

  • Dizziness 
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Enlarged lymph nodes 
  • Excessive sweating, itchy skin, or rash

Doses of Covishield Vaccine

Covishield vaccine consists of 2 doses of 0.5 mg each. It was initially recommended that the 2nd dose be given 4 to 6 weeks after getting the first dose. But the time interval between two doses has been extended to 12 weeks [2]. 

Composition of Covishield

Covaxin is composed of 

  • Inactivated adenovirus with segments of Coronavirus,
  • L-Histidine, 
  • L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, 
  • Magnesium chloride hexahydrate,
  • Polysorbate 80, 
  • Ethanol, 
  • Sucrose, 
  • Sodium chloride, 
  • Disodium edetate dihydrate (EDTA), 
  • Water for injection

Who should not take Covishield?

You should not get Covishield if 

  • You’ve had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredients of the vaccine
  • You’ve had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of Covishield

What to Know About Covaxin?

Covaxin is a COVID 19 vaccine developed by a pioneering biotechnology company, Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). 

It is an inactivated vaccine developed and manufactured in a high containment facility at Bharat Biotech.

Covaxin is a ready-to-use liquid presentation in multi-dose vials and is stable at 2-8℃. 

How Does Covaxin Work?

Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine developed using the Whole Virion inactivated Vero cell-derived platform technology, the same technology used for making vaccines for Influenza, Rabies, and Hepatitis-A.

Inactivated vaccines contain dead viruses which do not replicate and are unlikely to infect people but will still be able to send a message to the immune system to produce a defense reaction against an infection.

Vaccine adjuvants, also known as immune-potentiators are also included in Covaxin to increase and boost its immunogenicity.

Efficacy of Covaxin

Covaxin also has completed phase 3 trials and has demonstrated 63.6%, 77.8% and 93.4% vaccine efficacy against asymptomatic COVID-19, symptomatic COVID-19, and severe symptomatic COVID-19 respectively.

It is observed that Covaxin shows 65.2% protection against the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant.

An ICMR study also revealed that Covaxin is effective against the Delta plus variant.

What Are the Side Effects of Covaxin?

The most common side effects of Covaxin were injection site pain, injection site swelling, rashes, and mild symptoms like [1

  • headache, 
  • fever, 
  • nausea or vomiting, 
  • fatigue, 
  • dizziness, 
  • tremors, 
  • sweating, 
  • cold, 
  • cough, and 
  • body aches.

Doses of Covaxin Vaccine

Covaxin is a 2 dose vaccination regimen. 0.5 ml of vaccine is injected into the upper arm region of any hand. 

The doses are given 28 days apart. However, the second dose of Covaxin can be taken about 4 to 6 weeks after the first dose [2].

Composition of Covaxin

Covaxin is made of 

  • Inactivated/Killed Coronavirus
  • Aluminum Hydroxide gel
  • TLR 7/8 Agonist
  • 2-Phenoxyethanol
  • Phosphate Buffered Saline (NKA1)

Who should not take Covaxin? 

You should not get Covaxin if 

  • You’ve had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredients of the vaccine
  • You’ve had a severe allergic reaction after taking a previous dose of Covaxin
  • You currently have an acute infection or fever.

What after vaccination? 

Getting a vaccine is just a preventive measure and doesn’t guarantee that you get full protection. 

Thus, following basic preventive measures like social distancing, wearing masks, and frequent hand sanitization must not be neglected. 

In addition to that, it is essential that you maintain a holistic life. This can be made possible by 

In case you aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals from your diet, you can always consult a healthcare professional and start taking multivitamins.

Men and women have different nutritional needs at different times so it is important to select multivitamins suited for your needs like multivitamins for men or multivitamins for women.

Wrapping up

We can conclude that both Covaxin and Covishield are considered safe and effective enough and will work just fine in minimizing the risk and severity of infection. 

Irrespective of which vaccine you select- Covaxin or Covishield, or Sputnik V or Moderna, getting vaccinated is of utmost importance. It is strongly recommended that you get vaccinated with the first vaccine available to you as soon as possible.


  1. “Common Side Effects (AEFI)” Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2021)
  2. “Frequently asked questions” Covid vaccination,  Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2021)
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