Covid Vaccines: Why you can’t compare 92% efficiency with 81% efficiency

The only way to fight this deadly pandemic is by vaccinating ourselves. People are people’s cure. With so many companies releasing Covid-19 vaccines, people get confused as to which parameter is to be used while comparing them. Most of them start comparing vaccines based on their efficiency. There is a strong reason behind why you shouldn’t do that.

Parameters to consider

Covaxin, Covishield, Sputnik V (left to right)

Let us consider the three most used vaccines in India: Sputnik V, Covaxin, Covishield. The efficacy rates of the three are:

  • Sputnik V- 92%
  • Covaxin-81%
  • Covishield-70%

Based on this data, one may conclude that Sputnik V is the best and Covishield the worst. But before reaching this conclusion, let us consider some more important specifications.

Sputnik V vaccine:

Sputnik V is an adenoviral based Russian made vaccine, used against Covid-19. It works by introducing a weakened virus into the body so that they don’t immediately replicate and cause disease. Instead it prepares our immune system so that when the real virus attacks, the severity can be minimum to none. It requires two doses, with a 21 day interval between.

The trials were conducted on volunteers from Russia from June 2020 to Nov 2020 against the original and UK variant Covid-19. 19,000 volunteers from Russia participated in the trial, so trials were not done on Indian people.


Covaxin was developed by India’s National Institute of Virology (NIV). It works by introducing a dead Covid virus into the body, thus enabling the immune system to develop a response, and this method is often considered safe. It was first trialed on animals, and then proceeded to human trials. It requires two doses, with a 4-6 week interval between.

The trials were conducted on volunteers from India from June 2020 to Jan 2021 against both the original and UK variant virus. Trials were done on a total of 26,000 volunteers.


Covishield was developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. It works by introducing a weakened version of a common cold adenovirus into the body and triggers an immune response. It requires two doses, with a 4-8 week interval between.

The trials were conducted on volunteers from USA from August 2020 to December 2020 against the original virus only. Trials were done on a total of 30,000 volunteers.

As it can be observed, all three vaccine trials were conducted under different time periods, in different countries, on people of different nationalities on different variant viruses. Thus comparing them solely on the efficiency rates alone is not fair.

So which one to choose?

The answer to this question is that all three do their jobs as specified. There is no single ‘perfect’ vaccine. So instead of waiting for a vaccine with higher efficiency rate, try to vaccinate yourself as soon as possible. The goal of a vaccine is not to prevent you from getting Covid-19, but to reduce its severity, thus reducing severe symptoms and death.

Evidently, no vaccinated individual during the trials were hospitalized when they got Covid-19. The intake of medicines prescribed by their doctors, good food and isolation cured them. Hence this is proof that vaccination reduces the severity of the virus. Do not be under the false pretense that once vaccinated, Covid-19 cannot affect you and hence do not roam out. You maybe vaccinated, but other may not be. So do not be the cause of their attack.

This post was written with the intention of debunking the false hope of people that better efficiency rate equals better vaccine. So vaccinate yourself when you get the chance instead of waiting for the perfect vaccine. Be safe and be home. Let us together win this battle and soon return back to normal.

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