The Centre has informed all states and union territories that interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines is not permitted and that the coronavirus vaccination is available only for those above 18 years and won't be inoculated to pregnant or lactating women.
The Union Health Ministry also said if required, COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines should be separated by an interval of at least 14 days.
India's vaccination drive will start from January 16 after two COVID-19 vaccines, Oxford/AstraZeneca's Covaxin manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Botech's Covishield were granted emergency use approval earlier this month.
The ministry has listed precautions and contraindications for COVID-19 vaccination along with a comparative factsheet for both the vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which contains information on vaccine platform, physical specifications, dosage, cold-chain storage requirements, contraindications and minor AEFIs (adverse event following immunization).
The information should be disseminated to programme managers across all levels and through them to cold-chain handlers and vaccinators for ready reference, said the ministry.Around three lakh healthcare and frontline workers will be inoculated at 2,934 sites across the country on the first day of the nationwide vaccination drive.
The letter mentions mild AEFIs for both vaccines.
In the case of Covishied, some mild AEFI may occur like injection site tenderness, injection site pain, headache, fatigue, myalgia, malaise, pyrexia, chills and arthralgia and nausea.
Some mild AEFIs in case of Covaxin include injection site pain, headache, fatigue, fever, body ache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, dizziness-giddiness, tremor, sweating, cold, cough and injection site swelling.
Paracetamol may be used to provide symptomatic relief from post-vaccination adverse reactions, the letter added.