Covishield vs Sputnik vs Covaxin or Pfizer? Major Differences and Important Tips

Dr. Yogesh Arora

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Yogesh Arora

General Medicine

6 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Vaccination reduces the risk of severity of a coronavirus infection
  • All approved vaccines have more than a 50% efficacy rate
  • Among Covaxin vs Covishield, the latter is more affordable

India reported a total of more than 3.13 crore COVID-19 cases and witnessed a huge loss of life during the second wave [1]. Luckily, the country is seeing a decline in the total number of cases these days. Much of this success can be attributed to the vaccination drive. More than 10 crore people in India have received the COVID-19 vaccine [2]. This has brought a ray of hope against this ongoing pandemic.

However, getting vaccinated doesn’t mean you won’t get affected by the disease. It simply reduces the risk of getting infected by developing antibodies against the virus and slowing down the transmission. There are various vaccines available in the market. Some of them have a higher efficacy ratio than others. If you want to know which vaccine to take or the efficiency of Sputnik vs Covishield, or Sputnik vs Covaxin, read on.

Covaxin vs Covishield: Which is better? 

Covaxin vs Covishield 

Covishield vaccine was developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca and is manufactured at Serum Institute of India (SII). It is one of the first two vaccines approved in India for emergency use. The vaccine uses a weakened version of adenovirus found in chimpanzees, ChAD0x1. It is modified to match with SARS COV-2 to deliver spike proteins and trigger an immune response against the virus. The time interval between two vaccine shots of Covishield is 12-16 weeks.

Covaxin is manufactured by Bharat Biotech and developed by using a sample of COVID-19 virus isolated by National Institute of Virology. It was produced by the company in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology. Once the Covaxin dose is taken, your immune system starts producing antibodies against the COVID-19 virus, SARS COV-2. It is a two-dose vaccine administered with a gap of 28 days.

Covaxin vs Covishield efficacy 

According to the analysis of phase-3 clinical trials, Covishield showed efficacy of above 70% against symptomatic COVID-19. However, when the two doses were administered 8-12 weeks apart, the efficacy reached up to 91%. On the other hand, Covaxin has exhibited an efficacy of 81% based on Phase-3 trial results. The vaccine is found to be 77.8% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 and 65.2% effective against the new Delta variant of the virus.

Additional Read: What Are the Different COVID-19 Test Types You Can Opt For? 

Sputnik V vs Pfizer: Know the difference 

The Sputnik V vaccine was first developed in Russia and is distributed in India by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. It is a two-dose vaccine that uses two different vectors for both doses. The second dose is administered after a gap of 21 days. The vaccine was developed using two dissimilar and disarmed strains of adenovirus. It helps your immune system produce antibodies against coronavirus. The vaccine was found to be 91.6% effective after Phase 3 trials.

Pfizer was the first COVID-19 vaccine that received an FDA Emergency Use Authorization. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is highly effective with an efficacy rate of 95% against COVID. Studies also found it to be 88% effective against the Delta variant. The vaccine can remain effective for at least six months or higher. However, its usage in India is limited due to storage issues as the vaccine needs to be preserved in -80° to -60° temperature. 

side effects of covid vaccine

Sputnik / Covaxin / Covishield or Pfizer: Which vaccine should you take? 

Before deciding on which vaccine is better, you need to take the following factors into consideration.

  • Efficacy rate 

All the vaccines have different efficacy rates in their clinical trials against coronavirus. If you have a choice, go for the vaccine which is the most effective one against the SARS COV-2 strain. However, the WHO recommends using approved vaccines that have at least 50% efficacy against the infection.

  • Pricing 

The pricing of the vaccines differs. Though all COVID-19 vaccines are available free for the citizens at government hospitals and centers, Covishield is the cheapest vaccine. It is offered at Rs. 250 to Rs. 600 in private hospitals. Covaxin costs Rs. 1,600 in private hospitals whereas Sputnik V is priced between Rs. 950 to Rs. 1,000. Currently, Pfizer is not available in India, but it is likely to arrive soon.

  • Efficiency against new variants 

Check how effective a vaccine is against the new mutant strains of SARS COV-2 which are Variants of Concern (VoCs). The rise of infection among people who are vaccinated depicts that the vaccines are not as effective as they were found in clinical trials. However, vaccines are subject to trials and may need to be modified based on the results. Researchers have seen a drop in efficacy rates of the vaccines against the Delta variant. However, it should be noted that all available vaccines increase the chances of protection against infections, hospitalization, and mortality from the Delta variant [3].


  • Side effects 

Some of the mild side effects of vaccines include fatigue, chills, fever, nausea, headache, joint or muscle pain, rashes, and itching or swelling at the injected site [4]. These symptoms get cured naturally within 2-3 days. Doctors also recommend that you take paracetamol to feel better. Some vaccines may have a higher possibility of side effects than others. For example, the intensity of side effects can be slightly more in Covishield as it induces a higher antibody response. Covaxin and Sputnik V have fewer side effects.

  • High level of immunity and protection 

There is no sufficient evidence to determine how long a vaccine will provide protection against infections or boost immunity. The immunity provided by the vaccines can only be measured by the antibodies produced by your immune system after taking the jab.

Additional Read: How Will the COVID 3rd Wave Differ? Symptoms and Tips to Stay Safe

Whether it is Covaxin vs Covishield or Covishield vs Sputnik, remember that each vaccine has its own efficiency against COVID-19. It is best to take a vaccine that has at least a 50% efficacy rate and is effective against all COVID variants. What matters the most is getting vaccinated to reduce the severity of COVID-19. If you haven’t taken a shot yet, book your vaccination slot on Bajaj Finserv Health using the vaccination slot tracker. If you have doubts regarding vaccination or want to get medical advice, book an online doctor consultation in seconds and stay safe from COVID-19.

Published on 10 Aug 2021Last updated on 17 Nov 2022

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Yogesh Arora

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Yogesh Arora

, MBBS 1 , DNB 3


Health Videos

Mobile Frame
Download our app

Download the Bajaj Health App

Stay Up-to-date with Health Trends. Read latest blogs on health and wellness. Know More!

Get the link to download the app

Google PlayApp store