Covaxin vs Covishield


The second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive has already begun in India, and many people are still unaware of how the two vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield – are different from each other.

The second phase began on March 1, in which people over the age of 60 and those above 45 with associated comorbidities can take the life-saving shots.

Currently, the government hasn’t allowed people to decide which vaccine they want to get, but the result of the first phase clearly suggests that both the vaccines being inoculated in India are safe and effective.

Covaxin vs Covishield – Which one is better?

Well, we have compiled all the information to give you a better understanding of the formulation and every other detail about the vaccine you are going to get to stay safe from the Coronavirus. Have a look –


Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).

Covishield has been developed by the Oxford-AstraZeneca and is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Type of Vaccine

Covaxin is an inactivated vaccine, which has been prepared on a tried and tested platform of dead viruses.

This vaccine is developed with Whole-Virion Inactivated Vero Cell-derived technology. They contain inactivated viruses, which can not infect a person but still can teach the immune system to prepare a defence mechanism against the active virus.

These conventional vaccines have been in use for decades now. There are vaccines for some other diseases as well which are made using the same technology. These diseases are –

  • Seasonal influenza
  • Rabies
  • Polio
  • Pertussis, and
  • Japanese encephalitis

Covishield has been prepared using the viral vector platform which is a totally different technology.

A chimpanzee adenovirus – ChAdOx1 – has been modified to enable it to carry the COVID-19 spike protein into the cells of humans. Well, this cold virus is basically incapable of infecting the receiver but can very well teach the immune system to prepare a mechanism against such viruses.

The exact technology was used to prepare vaccines for viruses like Ebola.


There is no difference between the two vaccines in terms of dosage. Both of them follow a two-dose regimen, administered 28 days apart.

Storage Guidelines

Both Covishield and Covaxin can be stored at 2-8 degrees Centigrade, which is a household refrigerator temperature. This makes both the vaccines most suited for Indian conditions as most of the vaccines here are kept at the same temperature range.

This also makes the transportation and storage of both vaccines easier.

Covaxin vs Covishield Efficacy

Both the vaccines have shown more than satisfactory results ever since the inoculation started in India.

The effectiveness of the Covishield vaccine is nearly 90% as per the global reports and Covaxin’s 81% according to interim 3rd phase trial results.

Side effects

After injecting the vaccine, you may experience pain at the site of injection. Some people also experience side effects such as headache, joint pain, may feel like feverish. These side effects do not persist for long and generally goes within a day or two.


Covaxin has been granted a restricted-use authorization in clinical trial mode, while Covishield has been allowed for restricted use in emergency situations that can potentially prevent coronavirus infection in people aged 18 years and above.

However, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) has not given a market use authorization clearance to any of the vaccines till now.

Price of the vaccines

Both the vaccines are being inoculated free of cost at government health set-ups. The government has put a price capping of Rs 250 per dose for private hospitals and clinics.

Mode of administration

Both Covaxin and Covishield are intramuscular vaccines.

Age of beneficiaries

Covishield has been approved for people aged 18 years and above, while Covaxin can be given to people aged 12 years and above. There, however, isn’t any assurance if the vaccine can be given to children and pregnant women.

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Summing up the differences between Covishield and Covaxin

The interval between 1st and 2nd doses is 12-16 weeksThe interval between the 2 doses is 4-6 weeks
Efficacy after the second dose can vary from 70-90%This vaccine can be 78-100% effective after the second dose
People above 18 years of age can opt for this vaccineThis vaccine can be injected into younger people as well (12 years and above)
Covishield is less expensive. SII is selling this vaccine at INR 300 (government) and INR 600 (private centres)Covaxin is more expensive and is being sold at INR 400 (government) and INR 1200 (private facilities)
Covishield is more easily availableFewer hospitals and healthcare centres are stocking Covaxin

The latest updates on the COVID vaccine

  • 183 million doses of the COVID vaccine have been given in India. More than 40 million people have received 2 doses of the vaccine and are considered fully vaccinated.
  • Top health officials in India have stated that both Covaxin and Covishield are effective against the mutated, UK/South Africa/Brazil virus.
  • Sputnik V vaccine has been given emergency use authorization in India. In India, the Russian vaccine will be produced by Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. A recent study found no strong allergies caused by Sputnik V.
  • India will produce 850 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine every year. 
  • In terms of efficacy, Sputnik V outshines both Covishield and Covaccine with 91.6 % effectiveness compared to Covishield’s nearly 90% (global reports) and Covaxin’s 81% (interim 3rd phase trial results).
  • Bharat Biotech will increase the production of Covaxin to 12 million doses a month. 
  • Sputnik will be the third vaccine to be used in India against coronavirus and will be delivered to India this month. The volume of Sputnik V vaccine production in India will be gradually increasing and may surpass 50 million doses per month.
  • From May 1 onwards, everyone above the age of 18 years will be able to register for Covaxin, and Covishield (and Sputnik V when it arrives).
  • With the start of the 3rd phase of vaccination, vaccines can be purchased by state governments directly from the manufacturers. 
  • All the vaccine producers must sell 50% of their stock to the states through the free market. The remaining 50% will go to the central government.
  • Now that all vaccines will be available in the open market, the vaccine manufacturers will also be able to decide the price of each dose of vaccine depending on demand and supply. 
  • The risk of contracting COVID after 2 doses of Covaxin or Covishiled is minuscule. A study has found 0.03% of people caught COVID after the 2nd dose of Covishield and 0.04% tested positive after the 2nd dose of Covaxin.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.


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