We have entered the second phase of the world's largest immunization programme. However, several looming questions could hamper the success of this programme and weaken the fight against Covid-19.
After a 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 prepared by Rahul Pandit, director-Critical Care, Fortis Hospitals Mumbai, to help proceed with vaccinating yourself.
1. All adults should take the Covid-19 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 per cent efficacy in preventing death due to Covid-19
*Very high efficacy against severe Covid-19
*High to moderate efficacy (60%-95%) against symptomatic Covid-19
*Poor efficacy only against asymptomatic Covid-19
5. Vaccinating the high-risk vulnerable population -- above 60 years and above 45 years with comorbidities will bring down the mortality rate to 'very low', as currently, this group forms almost 90 per cent of patients who succumb to the disease. Therefore, we must encourage people in these age groups to be vaccinated
6. People with previous Covid-19 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 Covid-19 infection should wait for 8-12 weeks before taking the vaccine
All approved vaccines, including 'Covishield' and 'Covaxin' have100 per cent efficacy in preventing death due to Covid-198. Vaccine is safe in patients with hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, and heart disease, among 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. e.g. 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 among those with a food allergy, drug allergy (other than the vaccine components) and common allergic conditions like 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 Covid-19 vaccine without stopping their medication
13. Patients on blood thinners like warfarin or newer anti-coagulation 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 immunosuppressants (i.e. patients who've undergone organ transplants) of any type can safely take the vaccine. However, the 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 4 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 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.