New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The biggest vaccination drive in the world history has kicked off, with early shots being administered to medical workers and elderly citizens in several countries. Britain was the first nation to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use, followed by Canada and the United States. India has also prepared its roadmap to provide vaccine shots to the 130-crore population. With vaccines on the horizon, here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions around the efficacy, availability, and safety of these shots. 

Is it mandatory to get vaccinated?

The Union Health Ministry has said that getting vaccinated for the deadly infection would be voluntary and up to the individual. "Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine for protecting oneself against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to the close contacts including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers

Efficacy of available vaccines

The efficacy of a vaccine can only be calculated after the Phase III trials are complete. Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has an efficacy of 95 per cent, while Moderna claims its shot to be 95 per cent effective. Sputnik V has an efficacy of 91.4 per cent, while AstraZeneca vaccine, which the Serum Institute of India will be mass producing, claims its shot to be 70 per cent effective. 

Are there any side effects?

The side effects reported by the trial population are mostly mild Covid like symptoms including low-intensity fever and fatigue, local injection site pain and induration. Reports of transverse myelitis and facial palsy have not been found to be related to the vaccine.

Which groups would be given priority?

Based on the potential availability of vaccines the Government of India has selected the priority groups who will be vaccinated on priority as they are at higher risk. The initial shots would be administered to healthcare and frontline workers, followed by people aged over 50 or those with comorbid conditions. 

Which are the leading vaccine candidates in India?

The three leading vaccine candidates in the fray for emergency use authorisation from the DGCA are those developed by Pfizer, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India (SII). The latter will have 100 million dozes of Oxford-AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine ready by February 2021. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja