With the onset of year 2020 the whole world shook up with one of the most contagious virus infection SARS COV 2 causing COVID 19 disease. Humans are suffering from physical, mental, emotional and financial trauma. Many treatment options have been tried so far but nothing seems to work accurately. Vaccination drive has been started worldwide with the hope to end this spread of infection further in the community. Virus has no cells of its own so it is dependent exclusively on the host cell to replicate (i.e. to produce multiple copies). Vaccine helps our body to recognize the virus and produce necessary chemical to kill the virus and stops its further spread. In India we have two vaccines available so far, one is COVAXIN and other is COVISHIELD. There are many queries related to vaccine which I am going to address here.
Is it mandatory to get vaccinated?
No treatment or vaccination is ever mandatory. It’s totally your decision to take it. It is highly recommended to take it as it will give you strength to fight against virus and more people get vaccinated less will be spread of virus.
Who can take vaccine?
- Everyone above the age of 18 years can take the vaccine. Although trials are going on 2 years to 18 years old population as well and soon it will be available for all those are above 2 years of age.
- Safety of vaccine for pregnant and lactating (breastfeeding) women is not yet established.
- Individuals having any disease like Diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, immunosuppressive illness must take the vaccine as they are most vulnerable to COVID. Although they need to inform at the site of vaccination about their disease and the drugs they are taking.
Who cannot take vaccine?
- Person having any allergy to any medicine or vaccine should tell this to health care worker at the site of vaccination.
- Person with allergy to first dose of vaccine should not take second dose.
- Individuals suffering from an acute febrile illness, cough, cold, fever etc. should postpone the administration of vaccine till they become completely asymptomatic.
- Individuals who are having blood disorder like thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) or if they are taking any drug like anticoagulants (blood thinner) should tell this to health care worker at vaccination site.
Which vaccine is better?
There is no superiority of one vaccine over other. Efficacy and safety of both the vaccines are comparable.
Can individual take one dose of one vaccine and second dose of different vaccine?
No. individual should not take two different vaccines.
Can we drive or work after vaccination?
Yes. There is no or negligible influence on ability to drive or use machine
Is it necessary to take two doses of vaccine?
Yes. The chances of getting infection are less for those who received two doses of vaccine as compare to those who received single dose.
What should be the gap between two doses?
- COVISHIELD – 12 weeks to 16 weeks
- COVAXIN – 28 days
What changes occurs in body after first and second dose of vaccine?
- Vaccine will produce necessary antibodies to fight with corona virus. The concentration of these Antibodies is more after second dose and hence less chances of getting infection or if infection happens it will be mild.
- Few individual may experience mild side effects like headache, decrease appetite, dizziness (chakkar), nausea, vomiting, pain in abdomen, itching, rashes, body ache, pain or heaviness at the site of injection, fatigue, fever etc. These side effects are mild and subside by taking medicines like paracetamol and nothing to worry about.
Do we need to wear mask even after complete vaccination?
Yes. As no vaccine is 100% protective against virus and hence it is necessary to take all the precautions like mask covering mouth and nose, social distancing, Cleaning of hands, No hand shaking, No hugging etc. even after complete vaccination.
Can an individual takes vaccine after COVID infection?
Yes. After recovery from infection a patient should complete his vaccination. If COVID occurs after 1st dose of vaccine then second dose should be taken on complete recovery from COVID as per schedule. If no vaccination has been done so far then as per new guidelines 90 days after the date of positive report individual can take 1st dose and next dose as per schedule.
Is there any problem for smokers and alcoholics to take vaccine?
No. Smoker and alcoholics can also take vaccines. There is no data suggesting any risk involved in them. But it is recommended that smoking and alcohol should be stopped as it decreases immunity and the chances of getting infection may be high in that population. Smoking and alcohol is anyway not good for health so it is better to avoid.