Many scientists, researchers, healthcare workers and the frontline workers were working relentlessly globally to overcome the COVID-19 crisis. India, the second most impacted country by COVID-19, has finally received an emergency approval, and rolled out two homegrown vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield with a plan.

The vaccination drive started on January 16, 2021 across the state. To date, more than 16 lakh people in India have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. A total of 31,466 beneficiaries were vaccinated through vaccination sessions held across 27 states and Union Territories by 25th January.

How do Covaxin and Covishield work?

Covaxin is made up of an inactive whole virus. This means a whole virus which has an artificially (through laboratory) destroyed ability to replicate itself, is being exposed to an individual’s immune system.

Whereas, In Covishield’s case, University of Oxford’s researchers took hold of a respiratory virus which affected chimpanzees, and was known to destroy its replicating ability. To fetch the spike protein of this particular coronavirus, the researchers tweaked the genetic material of it. Moreover, the respiratory virus becomes a tiny factory which produces the spike protein that provokes the immune system because of it being injected into the body.

What are the possible side effects of Covaxin?

Bharat Biotech, the manufacturer of Covaxin, has stated that the possible side-effects are like:

  1. Injection site pain
  2. Body ache
  3. Stiffness in the upper arm
  4. Malaise
  5. Fever
  6. Injection site swelling
  7. Weakness in the injection arm
  8. Weakness
  9. Nausea and vomiting
  10. Headache
  11. Rashes
  12. Injection site redness
  13. Injection site itching

They have also stated that there could be a “remote chance” that Covaxin could cause severe allergic reactions. Like:

  1. Difficulty in breathing
  2. A fast heartbeat
  3. Dizziness
  4. Rash all over your body
  5. Weakness
  6. Swelling of your face and throat

What are the possible side effects of Covishield?

Serum Institute of India (SII), the manufacturers of Covishield (developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca), has also released a list of possible side-effects of Covishield such as:

The “very common” as stated by SII (may affect more than 1 in 10 people) side-effects include:

  1. Pain
  2. Warmth
  3. Itching 
  4. Tenderness
  5. chills 
  6. Swelling 
  7. Not feeling well
  8. Fatigue
  9. Headache 
  10. Feeling feverish 
  11. Nausea, 
  12. Joint pain or muscle ache
  13. Redness or bruises

Yet, these side effects are mild. Eliminating the fear of vaccination among the healthcare workers, Dr VK Paul (a Niti Aayog member) recently said that the side-effects to Covishield and Covaxin which are being administered in India are ‘less than negligible’ if seen in comparison to other COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, he  said that he himself has received Covaxin and has not had any side-effects till date. 

Don’t be afraid of the COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccination helps to protect your body by creating antibodies (i.e. immune system) response without having to experience sickness.

We have been assured by the health ministry that our country has a robust system when it comes to managing adverse events following immunization (AEFIs). Above all, about 0.18 percent cases have emerged because of vaccination among which only 0.002 percent have resulted in hospitalization, till date.


In conclusion, it is normal to have certain reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. For instance, fever, fatigue and headache are not uncommon for around 2-3 days after you get the vaccine. However, after that you will have antibodies and be able to fight the coronavirus. Only a few Adverse Effects Post Vaccination (AEFIs) may require hospitalization.