New Delhi: Bharat Biotech‘s iNCOVACC vaccine against Covid, which has received the health ministry’s approval as a booster dose, is a two-dose series to be taken four weeks apart. A total of eight drops (0.5ml per dose), four drops into each nostril, will be administered, according to Bharat Biotech.
“It can be used as a precautionary dose for people who have taken either Covaxin or Covishield for primary vaccination,” a senior official in the health ministry said. “People who have already taken a booster dose do not need to take it as per the current policy,” he added.
Dr N K Mehra, a leading health expert, said the intranasal vaccine may prove to be a gamechanger in the fight against the pandemic because it is effective and can be administered easily. “The vaccine is administered directly into the nasal cavity – from where the virus enters. It creates an immune response, thereby protecting against disease, infection, and transmission,” Mehra said.
Across India, over 90n per cent of the adult population has received the first and the second dose of vaccine for Covid-19. However, data shows, only 27 per cent people have taken the precautionary dose. “The pace of vaccination slowed when the cases started to come down. But, we are encouraging people, especially the elderly and immune-compromised, to come forward to take the precautionary dose again in view of the threat of a surge in Covid cases again, as is being witnessed in many other countries,” said an official.
The health minister’s announcement came in the wake of a spurt in cases of Omicron variants and sub-lineages in several countries such as China, the US, the UK and Brazil, among others, and some cases of these being detected in India as well. While iNCOVACC is easy to administer, it is also easy to store and distribute as it is stable at 2°-8°C.
Bharat Biotech had earlier said that it has established large manufacturing capabilities in multiple states.
While data on the iNCOVACC trials is yet to be made public, Bharat Biotech had said that the reactogenic events and adverse events documented during the trial were comparable to published data from other Covid-19 vaccines.