Moderna vaccine gets DCGI nod: All you need to know

Moderna gets DCGI approval: All you need to know about this Covid-19 vaccine

It is one of the four vaccines that has received the “green pass” after European Medicines Agency’s approval

Representative image. Credit: AFP File Photo

After the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) granted its approval to Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company Cipla to import Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, India now has four Covid-19 vaccines available with emergency use authorisation in the country.

Before India, the Moderna vaccine was approved in more than 40 countries like the US, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Israel, Qatar, the UK, etc. It is one of the four vaccines that have received the “green pass” after European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) approval.

Here’s everything you need to know about this Covid-19 vaccine:

How does the Moderna vaccine work?

Unlike Covishield and Covaxin, Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is made up of messenger RNA (mRNA). It consists of a genetic material that helps the cells in our body to make proteins to fight the virus. 

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After the spike proteins are created from the vaccine, they get stuck onto the cells. Once the immune system recognises these proteins, the mRNA from the vaccine is eventually destroyed.

Slowly, antibodies are created in the body which help the immune system fight the Covid-19 virus. When the virus enters the body, the antibodies get attached to the spikes of the Covid-19 virus and destroy them.

What is Moderna vaccine’s efficacy?

Moderna’s mRNA-1273 Covid-19 vaccine has shown an efficacy rate of approximately 94.1 per cent, 14 days after taking the first dose. This two-dose vaccine should be administered within a gap of 28 days, according to SAGE.

However, similar to Covishield, Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine has shown a better efficacy rate when both doses are administered at a longer gap. According to WHO, the Moderna vaccine can be used by countries like India, which have a higher number of Covid-19 cases and face vaccine shortage.

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The company has also stated that its vaccine has a 96 per cent efficacy rate against the Covid-19 virus for the age group of 12-17 years old.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

While it has some minor side effects like pain in the arm, redness, swelling, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea, the Moderna vaccine is found to be safe.
However, people with severe allergic reactions to any of the components of the vaccine are advised by the WHO to refrain from getting it. 

In the case of “very frail older persons with an anticipated life expectancy of fewer than 3 months”, a case to case assessment is required to decide whether to administer the vaccine or not.

Pregnant women are only advised to take the vaccine if the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks.

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Can the Moderna vaccine defeat the mutated Covid-19 virus?

The Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is seen to give protection against the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), first detected in the UK, and the Beta variant (B.1.351), first detected in South Africa. 

While there are no studies to claim that this mRNA vaccine can give protection against the Delta variant (B.1.617 ), first identified in India, the company is exploring the possibility of getting protection against new variants through a third booster shot. 

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