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Efficacy of Covaxin, Covishield, Sputnik V more or less equivalent: AIIMS Director

Data available till now shows clearly that efficacy of all vaccines — whether Covaxin, Covishield, or Sputnik V — are more or less equivalent, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said amid rumors about differentiated abilities of Covid-19 vaccines available in India in terms of production of antibodies or higher seropositivity rate.

“We should not hence say take this vaccine or that vaccine, whichever vaccine is available in your area, please go ahead and get yourself vaccinated so that you and your family are safe,” Guleria said while addressing various doubts of people regarding Covid-19 vaccines.

Responding to commonly raised questions about enough antibodies after getting vaccinated, Guleria said it is important to understand that we should not judge the efficacy of vaccines only by the number of antibodies getting generated.

The AIIMS Director said that vaccines give many types of protection such as through antibodies, cell-mediated immunity, and memory cells (which generate more antibodies when we get infected).

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Moreover, Guleria said, the efficacy results which have come so far are based on trial studies, where the study design of each trial is somewhat different.

NITI Aayog Member (Health) V.K. Paul said some people seem to be thinking of getting an antibody test done post vaccination but that is not required to be done for the simple fact that antibodies alone do not indicate the immunity of a person.

“This is so because of T-cells or memory cells; these undergo certain changes when we receive the vaccine, they become stronger and gain resistance power. And T-Cells are not detected by antibody tests as these are found in the bone marrow.

“Hence, our appeal is to not fall in the tendency of doing antibody tests either before or after getting vaccinated, take the vaccine, which is available, take both doses at the right time and follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour,” Paul said.

He also said that the people should not be under the false notion that the vaccine is not required if he or she has had Covid-19.

Currently, specifically three Covid vaccines, including Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V — the first foreign vaccine is given approval in India– are being administered across the country.

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The other two are Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin — two “Made in India” vaccines who got the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approval for restricted emergency use this year that led to the beginning of the world’s largest vaccination drive here from January 16.