New Delhi, March 13, 2021: We have entered the second phase of the world’s largest immunization program. However, several looming questions could hamper the success of this program and weaken the fight against COVID19.
Yes, vaccination is the most effective tool to fight the COVID19 pandemic, and help us succeed in our mission to restore normalcy! Having said that, the COVID19 vaccination drive in India has seen much momentum since day one. With an enthusiastic push from the civic bodies, we are slowly but steadily approaching our target goals. After successful round of vaccination for the healthcare providers and frontline workers, we have now moved to vaccinate and protect seniors above 60 years of age, and those above 45 years with comorbidities.
Here’s a guideline to help proceed with vaccinating yourself and your loved ones:
1. All adults should take the COVID19 vaccine and encourage others to take it as well.
2. You should have had your meals, and be well hydrated for your vaccination.
3. Only people who have an Anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) to any of the vaccine contents, should NOT take the vaccine.
4. All approved vaccines including Covishield and Covaxin have:
- 100% efficacy in preventing death due to COVID19
- Very high efficacy against severe COVID19
- High to moderate efficacy (60%-95%) against symptomatic COVID19
- Poor efficacy only against asymptomatic COVID19
5. Vaccinating the high-risk vulnerable population – above 60 yrs and above 45 yrs with co-morbidities will bring down the mortality rate to ‘very low’, as currently, this group forms almost 90% of patients who succumb to the disease. Therefore, we must encourage people in these age groups to be vaccinated.
6. People with previous COVID19 infection should take the vaccine only after 8-12 weeks of recovery from COVID 19.
7. A person who has received Plasma Therapy to treat a previous COVID19 infection should wait for 8-12 weeks before taking the vaccine.
8. Vaccine is safe in patients with hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, and heart disease, amongst those who have undergone bypass, post-angiography, and those on dialysis.
9. In pregnant women, if the benefit outweighs the risks of the vaccine, then you may take the vaccine. For example, a frontline pregnant worker should take the vaccine.
10. There is no data on how long pregnancy should be avoided post-vaccination. However, as it is an inactivated or dead virus it should be safe after 6-8 weeks of vaccination to conceive.
11. Vaccine is safe amongst those with a food allergy, drug allergy (other than the vaccine components) and common allergic conditions such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergic dermatitis. But consult your doctor before enrolling yourself.
12. People on anti-platelet agents like Aspirin and Clopidogrel should take the COVID19 vaccine without stopping their medication.
13. Patients on blood thinners like Warfarin or newer anticoagulation agents have a small risk of injection site swelling. Patients who are on these newer agents can skip their morning dose, take the vaccine and continue the next regular dose.
14. Patients with neurological complications like stroke, Parkinson’s, dementia should take the vaccine as it is safe for them.
15. Patients on immunosuppressant’s (i.e. patients who’ve undergone organ transplants) of any type can safely take the vaccine. However, immune response may not be complete. Check with your doctor before enrolling.
16. It is false that alcohol is not allowed post-vaccine or that vaccine causes impotency or that vaccine will change the DNA of a person.
17. There are currently no trials available on children, hence vaccination for those below 18 years can be delayed for now.
18. Patients with cancer and those undergoing Chemotherapy should consult their doctor and seek an appropriate window for vaccination between the Chemotherapy cycles. Ideally, the patient should wait for at least four weeks post-chemotherapy to take their vaccine.
19. Fever, body ache, dizziness, headaches are common symptoms post-vaccination.
20. A simple Paracetamol can be taken post-vaccination if required, and most symptoms would be well controlled.
Do not believe in rumours, the best way to get the right information is to speak to doctors at medical centres who are offering the COVID19 vaccination. Remember, vaccine-induced immunity is as important as herd immunity. It is the current and the only way to tackle the growing menace of the virus. Let’s all come together to fight back and end the pandemic once and for all.
(The article has been authored by Dr Rahul Pandit, Director-Critical Care, Fortis Hospitals Mumbai & Member-Maharashtra’s COVID Taskforce)