World’s first nasal Covid vaccine set for roll out: FAQs answered


Being redundant, the intranasal vaccine will be India’s first booster dose. It can be given to people over 18 years of age.

India Today Web Desk

New Delhi,UPDATED: 23 Dec 2022 19:58 IST

Nasal vaccine

Nasal vaccine is safe, says Dr Harsh Mahajan (representative)

By India Today Web Desk: Bharat Biotech’s nasal Covid vaccine has been approved as a booster dose and will be available in private centers when it is presented at CoWIN this evening.

“The government of India has approved the nasal vaccine. It will be used as a heterologous booster and will be available in private hospitals first. It will be included in the Covid vaccination program from today,” official sources said earlier in the day.

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Being redundant, the intranasal vaccine will be India’s first booster dose. It can be given to people over 18 years of age.

Dr. Harsh Mahajan, creator of Mahajan Images, answers some frequently asked questions about the new vaccine.

WHEN TO TAKE THE NOSE VACCINE?

The nasal vaccine can be taken only by those who have already received two doses of the vaccine, Dr Mahajan said.

“The government has made it clear that the approval given today is to use this vaccine only as a precautionary dose for those over 18 years of age. Therefore, if you have already taken the emergency dose, you cannot benefit from it. Only those who have taken two doses, Covishield or Covaxin or, in some cases, Sputnik V, are eligible to receive this preventive dose. Only about 30 percent of people who had both doses received the preventive dose and as Covid appeared to have declined, people became skeptical. So those are the people who have the right,” he said.

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CAN IT BE SELF-ADMINISTERED?

“Although it is easy to administer, this will only be available through the CoWin platform and in private and public hospitals and institutions that are on the CoWin platform. So you will have to go there and get the dose. Of course, the administration is easy. Also, two to eight degrees Celsius it should be stored at a temperature between 100°C, which is normal refrigerator temperature, and should be used within six hours of opening and taking out of the refrigerator. During this time, it should be stored at the same temperature,” said Harsh Mahajan.

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LONG TERM IMMUNITY

The vaccine will provide long-term immunity like other vaccines, he said.

“The advantage of this vaccine is that it will provide a very wide spectrum of immunity and also local immunity, which is in the nasal passage itself, reducing the infection rate of people who receive it. The transmission rate will also decrease. In this sense, the nasal vaccine could be more effective than the others. But we need more data on how long it provides immunity and we will get that over time,” said Dr Mahajan.

SIDE EFFECTS

Harsh Mahajan said nasal vaccines are safe. “From the tests carried out, it is known that they are safe. It is known to be effective. Serious side effects are known to be very, very rare. The main side effects are those seen with any vaccine: fever, headache, runny nose. These will also be short term. We are not aware of any long-term side effects,” he said.

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WHICH IS BETTER?

“It is a difficult question to answer. We do not yet know the effectiveness of this vaccine. There are other promoters already available in the country that many of us use as promoters. But considering that this is the first time in the world that we take this vaccine and that it will also provide local immunity, I think that it is a good alternative that has been created. And given a choice, I would prefer this,” said Dr Mahajan.

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