IntroductionThe world is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic and is fighting hard to beat it. It has been more than two years since the first lockdown was initiated in March of 2020. As of 23rd July 2022, the COVID 19 cases in India stand to:Total cases: 4,38,68,476Total recovered: 4,31,92,379Active cases: 1,50,100Total deaths: 5,25,997Total vaccinated: 2,01,68,14,771Source: Ministry of Health and Family WelfareNational COVID-19 vaccination programmeLet's take a look at the vaccines that are currently available in India:CovishieldCovishield is brand name of Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and is marketed under the brand name Covishield by the Serum Institute of India. The vaccine has been made available to the central government at JNR. 157.50 per dose but it is offered free of cost in all government hospitals. The vaccine is also available in private hospitals at INR 390 per dose.To be eligible for the third (booster) dose of Covishield, there must be a gap of 6 months between the second and the third dose. Once the 6-month gap between the second and third dose has been completed, the individual can book an appointment using their Co-WIN account.CovaxinCovaxin, being developed by Bharat Biotech and the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). The vaccine is made available to the central government at INR 225 per dose but it is offered free of cost in all government hospitals. The vaccine is also available in private hospitals at INR 400 per dose.The subject expert committee (SEQ of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) recommended the use of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin among children aged 6-12 years. The recommendation has been sent to the DCGI, who will give its final nod. Covaxin is currently being administered to children in the age group of 15-18 years.Covaxin has proved to be safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic in the paediatric population in Phase-II and -111 studies, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet. To be eligible for the third (booster) dose of Covaxin, there must be a gap of 6 months between the second and the third dose.Once the 6-month gap between the second and third dose has been completed, the indMdual can book an appointment using their Co-WIN account.Note: Covishield and Covaxin booster vaccines are available free of cost at government hospitals and clinics.Sputnik VSputnik V is manufactured by Dr Reddy's laboratory in India in collaboration with the Russian Direct Investment Fund. Sputnik is available at JNR. 1145 per dose. The suggested time gap between two doses is 21 days. A lighter single-dose version of the vaccine called Sputnik Light has been studied in India for its efficacy. A joint study conducted by a team of scientists, including representatives of Moscow's City Clinical Hospital and the Gamaleya Center, shows that the two-dose Sputnik V vaccine is 97 per cent effective against hospitalisation caused by the Omicron variant of Coronavirus.RDIF has partnered with the Serum Institute of India for the local production of Sputnik Light. The vaccine may also be used as a booster dose in previously vaccinated people to maintain herd immunity. The vaccine is estimated to cost around INR.730.The two doses of Sputnik V vaccine have separate compositions. The first dose of the vaccine contains a recombinant adenovirus type 26 (rAd26-S) and the second dose is a recombinant adenovirus 5 (rAd5-S). National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has given its approval to the fll'st dose of Sputnik Light Covid-19 vaccine to be administered as a booster dose to all those vaccinated with the Russian vaccine.ZyCov-DThe Zydus Cadila called ZyCov-D vaccine uses plasmids or small rings of DNA that contain genetic information - to deliver the jab between two layers of the skin. The three-dose ZyCoV-D vaccine (administered at 28 days' gap for each dose) prevented symptomatic disease in 66 per cent of those vaccinated, according to an interim study quoted by the vaccine maker Cadila Healthcare. It is also India's first needle-free Covid-19 jab administered with a disposable needle-free injector, which uses a narrow stream of the fluid to penetrate the skin and deliver the jab to the proper tissue.The vaccine has a storage temperature of 2-8 °C and showed good stability at a temperature of 25°C for up to three months.The vaccine is administered through the skin into the layers of the tissue with a specialised needle-free injector.One dose of the vaccine is currently priced at JNR. 265 per dose. The needle-free applicator will be available at INR. 93 per dose. The vaccine is given in three doses within the gap of 28 days. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted Emergency Use Authorisation for ZyCov-D for inoculation in children above 12 years of age.CorbevaxCorbevax is a recombinant protein subunit vaccine, meaning it is made up of a specific part of SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes Covid-19 - the spike protein on the virus's surface. It is developed by the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development and Baylor College of Medicine and licenced to India's Biological E.Corbevax can be stored and transported at 2 to 8° Celsius.The vaccine has received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for use on children between 12-18 years of age (under certain conditions). Corbevax costs INR 990 including taxes per dose, and is available for free in government-run vaccination centresCovovaxNovavax is a protein-based COVID 19 vaccine developed by Novavax Inc. USA and is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India by the name Covovax. Covovax is a local version of the Novavax vaccine. The vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective in a late-stage US-based clinical trial.It requires two doses and needs to be stored at 2 to 8° Celsius. The Subject Expert Committee (SEQ of Central Drugs Control Standard Organization (CDCSO) recommended Covovax. for emergency use authorization (EUA) for 12-17 year olds in India in March 2022. A dose of Covovax will cost INR. 900 plus GST, in addition to hospital service charge of JNR. 150. The Drug Controller General of India also gave the go ahead to Serum lnstitute's Covid-19 vaccine Covovax for restricted emergency use in children between 7 and 11years, subject to certain conditions.Gennova BiopharmaceuticalsGennova Biopharmaceuticals' first homegrown mRNA Covid-19 vaccine has received emergency use for the age group 18 and above. The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the two-dose mRNA vaccine. The vaccine is stable for storage at 2-8 degree C. The vaccine will be available for adults above 18 years of age. The two-dose vaccine will have to be administered intramuscularly, 28 days apart. The new vaccine can now be stored at the temperature of a standard medical refrigerator.Other vaccines currently under reviewBharat Biotech intranasal vax also known as BBVl 54 is a novel adenovirus vectored, intranasal vaccine for COVID-19. It has excellent potential for vaccination due to the organised immune systems of the nasal mucosa. Inhaling the vaccine at the site of infection (in the nasal mucosa) - which is essential for blocking both infection and transmission of COVID-19. It will be non invasive and needle-free. The Drug Controller General of India approved phase 3 clinical trials of the nasal COVID-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech. The study is set to kick off at nine sites across India including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the Delhi and in Patna. The trials will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in those who have already been fully vaccinated with Covaxin or Covishield, and will also test it as a primary dose against infection.A recent study conducted in Israel has shown that after two doses of Tozinameran from Pfizer-BioNTech, the vaccine provides 95.3 per cent protection against the infection and significantly reduces the risk of death. The US FDA has authorised a booster dose in adults who have been previously vaccinated. A recent report has stated that the Indian Government is not willing to import and purchase Tozinameran as domestic output for more affordable vaccines has increased significantly.Moderna's vaccine has been found to remain stable at -20° Celsius for up to six months. It can be stored in a refrigerator at 4° Celsius for up to 30 days. The Phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine have shown 94.1 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID- 19 infection and complete protection against severe forms of the disease. Moderna has received emergency-use authorisation in India in partnership with Cipla. A recent report has stated that the Indian Government is not willing to import and purchase Moderna's vaccine as domestic output for more affordable vaccines has increased significantly.Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson has also partnered with Indian pharmaceutical company Biological E for the manufacturing of a single dose COVID 19 vaccine. The vaccine can be stored at a temperature of 2 to 8° Celsius for up to 3 months. The vaccine has received emergency use authorisation in India. The company is soon expected to commence its commercial export of vaccines after approval from DCGI. The vaccine will not be administered in India as the government did not agree to the company's indemnity against legal liability.Reliance Life Sciences is expected to start its Phase 1 clinical trials of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine soon. Formal approval for studies is soon expected. The study will be conducted on a small group of 20-80 people with RNA based vaccine. As the vaccine is a protein sub-unit vaccine, it is expected to be safe for all age groups.Things to rememberHere are a few things to keep in mind while getting vaccinated for COVID 19 disease:• The Government of India has also mandated that those who have received Covishield as their first two doses must take the same as the booster dose and those who have received Covaxin as their first two doses must take the same as the booster dose.• Pregnant women in India are advised to take either the Covishield, Covaxin or Sputnik vaccine by the health advisories and medical authorities in India.• On the day of vaccination, inform your vaccination officer about your health condition and medication to avoid any complications.• Observe any side effects after vaccination and keep your physician informed about them.Please Note: Diabetes Health recommends readers dial the helpline numbers: +91-11-23978046, toll free : 1075 - for up-to-date information and guidance on Covid-19 vaccination.