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Updated 20 January 2021

Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana, is steadily but slowly rising above the ruins of the raging pandemic. The metropolitan now reports less than a hundred positive cases every day, showing a promising number of recoveries. 

However, with a huge caseload hovering in the background of people’s life, citizens of Hyderabad are eagerly looking forward to the deployment of vaccines to put an end to this global crisis, once and for all. 

With the mass immunization drive having started on January 16, what are the latest updates about the vaccination procedure in Hyderabad right now? How is it being carried out?

Updates on the COVID vaccine in Hyderabad

Hyderabad is home to Bharat Biotech, the bio-pharmaceutical accredited with the development of India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin. After receiving the government purchase order for 55 lakh doses, Bharat Biotech shipped vaccines throughout the country via flights and refrigerated trucks. 20,000 vials of Covaxin were distributed throughout Telangana. 

The first consignment of 3.64 lakh vials of Covishield vaccine arrived from the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune, through deep freezer vans. The vaccines are stored at the Telangana Vaccine Centre in Koti, Hyderabad. In addition to this, the State Health Department received 3,48,500 more doses of Covishield on January 19. The state will receive another 3.5 lakh doses of vaccines in the coming days.

Across the state, 1,213 vaccination centers and 866 cold chain points have been set up to ensure that the vaccination drive is carried out smoothly. 

What vaccines are available now?

After having gone through months of clinical and human trials, Covishield and Covaxin are the only COVID-19 vaccines approved in India right now. The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the Emergency Use Authorization of these two vaccines after being reviewed by a select panel of experts from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

Both vaccines have undergone different phases of trials and tests to establish safety and immunogenicity. 

Covaxin

Covaxin is an indigenous COVID-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV). Covaxin is a Whole Virion Inactivated Vaccine. The vaccine has been shown to generate immunity following two doses given four weeks apart through ongoing trials. Covaxin is presented in multi-dose vials and can be stored at 2-8ºC.

The vaccine will not be administered for children below 18 years of age. In phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials, Covaxin has demonstrated the ability to produce antibodies against COVID-19. However, the clinical efficacy is yet to be established, and it is still being studied in phase 3 clinical trial. Nevertheless, the safety parameters are looking good. 

Covishield 

Manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Covishield is the COVID vaccine jointly developed by The Oxford University and AstraZeneca biopharmaceutical based in the UK. The Covishield vaccination course consists of two separate doses of 0.5 ml each. Recipients should take the second dose 4 to 6 weeks after the first dose. 

The vaccine has been approved for restricted use for individuals 18 years of age and above. Covishield has undergone three phases of clinical tests for safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy. The confirmed efficacy rate is 70.42%. 

Other vaccine candidates

Several other vaccines are in different phases of human clinical trials, waiting for their approval. In addition to these two approved COVID vaccines in the country right now, vaccines developed by foreign and indigenous companies anxiously await the nod from DCGI. 

Pfizer Vaccine

The jab manufactured by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals based in America and BioNTech, the biotechnology company from Germany, has already been widely authorized in countries such as the US, UK, Canada, and Bahrain. Pfizer was the first candidate in India to apply for its emergency approval.

This mRNA vaccine has undergone three safety trials abroad. However, Pfizer will be authorized by the government only after doing a local study on the Indian population. The vaccine consists of two doses to be taken 21 days apart and is recommended for people aged 16 years and older. The efficacy rate is reportedly more than 90%. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said that the price of a single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid vaccine is Rs 1,431 (USD 19.50).

Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D

COVID-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D, developed by Zydus Cadila, the pharmaceutical firm based in Hyderabad, has successfully undergone Phase I and Phase II trials in over 1000 healthy individuals. The plasmid DNA vaccine has been found safe and immunogenic in the first two trials and is eagerly waiting for the central government’s approval to conduct Phase III safety trials. 

The vaccine is known to show improved vaccine stability than its counterparts, enabling it to remain stable at room temperature for over three months. The vaccine’s strength and resistance would make it ideal for access, even in the country’s remotest regions. 

Sputnik V

Produced by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Sputnik V is currently undergoing last-stage trials after completing a Phase II study. The ongoing clinical trial in Russia involves 40,000 volunteers. 

Sputnik V is the first registered vaccine against COVID-19 created on a human adenoviral vector platform. The vaccine comprises two doses. The second dose should be taken 21 days after administration of the first dose. The efficacy rate is confirmed to be 91.4%. Sputnik V will soon apply for emergency-use approval in the country.

Biological E

The Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical firm Biological E is working with the US-based biopharmaceutical firm Dynavax Technologies Corporation and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, to create a globally available COVID 19 vaccine. Followed by the approval from DGIC, Biological E. has initiated Phase I/II clinical trial of its COVID-19. 

The clinical tests will evaluate vaccine safety and immunogenicity in healthy individuals between ages 18 and 65. The results are expected to be available by the end of February. 

Mynvax 

Mynvax is a heat-tolerant COVID 19 vaccine developed at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The vaccine could tolerate and stay stable at much higher temperatures, whereas other vaccine candidates might lose their shape after 50°C, making it a “warm vaccine.” 

Mynvax can be stored at 37°C for over a month without losing its viability and ability to fight the virus. Researchers at IISc have reported that the vaccine maintains its stability at very high temperatures up to 100°C. 

Gennova Biopharmaceuticals 

Pune-based firm Gennova in collaboration with HDT Biotech Corporation, Seattle, US, has produced the mRNA COVID vaccine- HGCO19. The DGCI has granted conditional permission for Phase I/II trials and animal toxicity study of the vaccine. 

The tests are expected to be complete by mid-March. If approved, HGCO19 will be the first indigenous mRNA vaccine in the country. 

When can Hyderabad residents be vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccination drive in Hyderabad is conducted only on four days of the week — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsha Vardhan, has mandated registration through the CoWIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work) app for administering the vaccine. The app is currently unavailable to citizens but will soon be made accessible from all platforms. 

Like the rest of the country, vaccination in Hyderabad will be carried out in three phases: 

  • Phase 1 focuses on health care workers. 
  • Phase 2 is for the police, armed forces, and disaster management volunteers.
  • Phase 3 focuses on individuals above 50 and those under 50 with comorbidities. 

On the first day, Saturday the 16th, around 13,900 healthcare workers were inoculated at 139 vaccine sites across the state. 

That next day, 92.2% of the targeted beneficiaries — 3,962 of 4,296 healthcare workers — were vaccinated. The number fell to 82% on Monday and 71% on Tuesday.

Where to get vaccinated in Hyderabad?

As per official details, the number of vaccine session sites from Hyderabad will be more than doubled from 14 on the launch day to 42 on Monday with 28 new centers. 

Three major vaccination centers in Hyderabad are listed below: 

Area Hospital
Nampally Market, Bazar Ghat, Nampally, Hyderabad – 500001

Gandhi Hospital
Bhoiguda Road, Musheerabad, Hyderabad – 500020

Urban Primary Health Centre, Tilaknagar
Street Number 21, AP Housing Board, Bagh Lingampally, New Nallakunta, Hyderabad, Telangana 500044

Three steps are involved at the vaccination centers:

  • The first step is the registration or verification counter, where a beneficiary has to show an ID card and an Aadhaar card. The details will be cross-checked in CoWin software.
  • After that, they would be given the vaccine. 
  • Then they will be directed to the Observation Room, where the beneficiaries’ condition will be monitored for half an hour.

How much will the vaccination cost?

The Centre is bearing the cost for all those who qualify for Phase 1. There is no absolute clarity on what will cost the rest of the public. It is speculated that Covishield will cost Rs 200 for the first 100 million doses and Rs 1,000 per dose after that at private outlets. The Covaxin course is estimated to cost Rs 206 per dose. 

However, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has stated that vaccine will be provided free of cost across the country.