Vaccination for COVID 19 has been going on in India since January 2021 and many people across the country have already received their vaccinations. As we know vaccination is our main defense in the fight against COVID-19. And yet, we find that there are still several questions that people have about vaccination against COVID-19. Today we’ll try and answer a few so that people can confidently go ahead and get themselves vaccinated.
We have three vaccines currently available in India:
- Covishield (AstraZeneca, U.K vaccine manufactured in India by the Serum Institute of India)
- Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited)
- Sputnik V vaccine (developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute, Russia in partnership with the Russian Direct Investment Fund)
Covishield and Covaxin have been available in India for a while now and the Sputnik V has been recently introduced.
One very common question that comes up is which is the better vaccine? The answer to this is that all three vaccines are safe and effective. Vaccines are made available to the public only after they pass rigorous checks on safety during clinical trials and demonstrate effectiveness in preventing infections. For every successful vaccine that has made it through the clinical trials assessing its safety and effectiveness, there are numerous vaccines that did not make the cut. Hence all of these vaccines can be taken and everyone who is eligible to take the vaccine should take either of these vaccines. This currently includes everyone above the age of 18 years.
In a significant development, the Union Health Ministry on Friday accepted the recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) that Covid-19 vaccination is safe for pregnant women. The evidence is being assessed for vaccinations in children and we shall soon have news for vaccination in this age group as well. There are queries regarding people with allergies being able to take the vaccine. If one is allergic to any component of the vaccine, then one should refrain from taking the vaccine. Additionally, if people are on certain medications like strong blood thinners or immune-modulator drugs, they should talk to their doctors who may ask them to stop these medications for a few days before taking the vaccine and then restart again. It is important to realize that people who are taking other medications probably have other medical conditions, which puts them in the high risk category and they should therefore take the vaccine on priority.
On the day of vaccination, please check if you have a fever or any other flu like symptoms. If you do, it would be best to defer the vaccination and get yourself checked. Do continue to take all safety precautions even as you take the vaccine. Use a mask appropriately, maintain social distancing and practice hand hygiene. The vaccine is administered in the arm. Once you have taken the vaccine, you will be asked to stay at the medical center for about half an hour for monitoring. Then one can go home.
Some people might experience a few side effects after taking the vaccine. There could be some pain or redness at the injection site. Some might develop a fever or some flu like symptoms. Please take rest, stay hydrated and take medications for the fever or pain if required. The symptoms should subside within a day or two. If they continue to persists or get worse, please do reach out to your doctor and speak with them. Again, another question that people have is whether vaccine is less effective if you do not experience any side effects. This is not so. Every person’s body reacts differently to the vaccine but this should not have an effect of the development of immunity.
Also, we must remember, that complete immunity does not develop as soon as we take the vaccine. It may take up to 3 to 4 weeks after the second dose of the vaccine to achieve this. We must continue to take safety precautions such as wearing a mask, hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing even after taking the vaccine. Vaccination and preventive measures go hand in hand in our fight against COVID-19.
So, please go ahead and get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible and continue to take all safety precautions! If you or a family member are eligible for vaccination and have any doubts regarding the vaccine, please speak to our doctors at Dhani who will be able to help you out with the same.
To know more, tune in to Hello Health podcast on Dhani Zone, each week, where we pick trending health topics, bust myths, and most importantly give the listeners the answers they seek.