Can you take Covaxin? Efficacy, Side Effects and Contraindictions.

The Covaxin vaccine is developed by inactivating Whole-Virion. Inactivated vaccines do not replicate and hence, are consequently unlikely to revert and trigger pathological effects. They contain dead virus, incapable of infecting people but nevertheless able to teach the immune system to mount a defensive response against a disease.

Inactivated vaccines have existed for decades. Numerous inactivated vaccines for such diseases have been made like Seasonal Influenza, Polio, Pertussis, Rabies, and Japanese Encephalitis utilize the same technology to develop inactivated vaccines using a secure track record of 300 million doses of supplies thus far. It’s the well-established, and time-tested platform from the world of vaccine technology.


It is manufactured by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad, India in cooperation with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) & National Institute of Virology (NIV). COVAXIN is India’s Initial Native COVID-19 Vaccine.

Type of Vaccine Inactivated or killed vaccine
Dose                        0.5 ml each
Course                           2-doses
Schedule               4-6weeks apart
Vaccination during Pregnancy              Not recommended
Vaccination >18 years of age              Recommended
Pediatric age group                 Not recommended (On Trial- see below)
Vaccination to Lactating mother               Not recommended
Storage and transportation                +2 C to +80C at all levels
Official website for registration COWIN

Formulations used in Covaxin vaccine:

Included along with immune-potentiators, also called vaccine adjuvants, that can be added to the vaccine to increase and enhance its immunogenicity. Covaxin contains the following ingredients:

  •  6µg of whole-virion killed or inactivated SARS CoV-2 antigen (Strain: NIV-2020-770)
  •  It also contains some additives (inactive) such as:
    • Aluminium hydroxide gel (250 µg),
    • TLR 7/8 agonist (imidazoquinolinone) 15 µg,
    • 2-phenoxyethanol 2.5 mg, and
    • Phosphate buffer saline as much as 0.5 tsp.

The Covaxin vaccine, hence has been developed by employing inactivated/killed virus (that in nonactivated state conveys the potential to cause COVID-19) along with the afore mentioned chemicals.

Key Characteristics:

It’s a 2-dose regimen adviced to be given 4-6 weeks apart.

It’s a Vaccine with no sub-zero storage, no reconstitution requirement, and ready to use liquid presentation in multi-dose vials, stable at 2-8℃.

In July 2020, Covaxin vaccine has taken approval for Clinical trial phase I & II, from Drug Control General of India.


The following criteria are for the eligibility for Covaxin vaccination.
  • Ability to offer permission/consent
  • Vaccine recipients aged 18 years and above.
  • Vaccine receivers with good overall health or secure medical conditions as determined by the Vaccinator/Officer supervising vaccination.
  • A stable medical condition is described as a disease not requiring substantial change in therapy or hospitalization or worsening illness during the previous 3 months.
The individuals with these conditions won't be eligible for vaccination.
  • Have any history of allergies.
  • Have fever.
  • Have diseases like- bleeding disorder or are taking medicines like- blood thinner.
  • Are immunocompromised or so are on a medication that affects their immune system.
  • Are pregnant.
  • Are breastfeeding.
  • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Any other serious health related problems as determined from the Vaccinator/Officer supervising vaccination

Side effects

The following common adverse events may follow after Covaxin vaccination:
  • Injection site pain
  • Injection site swelling
  • Injection website inflammation
  • Injection site itching
  • Stiffness at the upper arm 
  • Weakness in injection arm
  • Body ache
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • Weakness
  • Rashes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
Evidence of a Serious Allergic Reaction can include:
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swelling your neck and face
  • A quick heart beat
  • Rash throughout your own body
  • Dizziness and weakness

Contraindication for Covaxin vaccination:

  • Have any allergies
  • Have Stress
  • Have any type of bleeding disorder or taking any blood thinners in medication
  • Are immunocompromised or are you currently on a medication that affects your immune system
  • Are pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine
  • Any other serious health related problems, as determined by the Vaccinator/Officer supervising disease.


Some study has shown Interim Clinical Efficacy of 78% and 100% efficacy against Severe COVID-19 disease (By Bharat biotech)

Studies are in progress for age group 2years-18years, under Phase 2&3

COVAXIN powerful Against Alpha, Beta, Zeta and Delta version of strain.

No Cocktail of Vaccines:

Those vaccine recipients who get the initial dose of Covaxin should not take another COVID-19 vaccine developed by a different vaccine platform such as Covishield because there is no such scientific basis for the appropriateness using this Covaxin with different vaccines. and also, their technologies are different so, there mechanism of action to produce an immune response will be different to develop antibodies.

Pregnancy and Lactation:

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not get the it as the effect of this vaccine has not yet been studied in pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.

No Chances of getting Infection due to Covaxin:

No. Covaxin is an inactivated (killed) vaccine, and thus, there’s not any chance of getting COVID-19 because Covaxin vaccination.

Paediatric Age group:

There are studies going on in paediatric age group of 2 years to <18 years. The study is in Clinical trial Phase 2 and 3.  Soon, will see the World safer after this.