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FAQs on Covid vaccine

We are reproducing an article published in the Times of India on January 16th which believe is going to be of common interest to our readers. Here it goes:

“States across India will begin the first phase of COVID vaccination from January 16. Dry runs have been completed and vaccine doses have been shipped to centres.In the first phase of inoculation, vaccine doses will be administered to over 3 crore healthcare workers, followed by essential staff, senior citizens and the general public.

As exciting as a time it is for people to finally have access to a COVID vaccine after months’ long wait, there is also a lot of curiosity in people’s minds about vaccines being administered to them. It’s natural to have questions, and in fact, as many believe, higher education and awareness will prepare people to get the vaccine in a better way, behave responsibly and safeguard themselves.

So, as India gears up to get vaccinated and banish away COVID, we answer some questions, common do’s and don’ts.

a) Covaxin vs Covishield: Will people get a choice?

With frontrunner Pfizer’s COVID shot being subjected to a clinical study, homegrown vaccines, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Oxford University- Serum Institute’s Covishield will be the two vaccines that shall be used right now.

Unlike what is being presumed, people won’t be offered a choice to pick between the two vaccines, which has been confirmed by health officials as well. The same has also been followed by countries which have approved more than one vaccine right now.

Both Covaxin and Covishield have been approved for emergency use authorization and have satisfactory efficacy rates. They have been traditionally developed and will work to mount an increased antibody response in the body to prevent SARS-COV-2 from attacking in the future.

The vaccine will be offered free of charge in the first round of inoculation.

b) What special precautions do you need to take before getting vaccinated?

There is no official guidance as to what one can expect, or if there is any need for special steps to be followed before one's turn comes up. The only thing authorities warn people about is to take a personal decision- research and make a well-suited call to see if the vaccine would be suited for them or not. For example, pregnant women, or those with high co-morbidities may consider delaying inoculation.

As basic measures, experts feel that people shouldn't indulge in activities which could harm their health, or put themselves at risk a day or two before their turn for vaccination.

Avoiding stress, and any activities which could impair a person's immunity is not advised. Be aware and well-rested before your turn comes up.

c) What will happen at the vaccination centre?

As reported, people will be allotted a time slot for their turn for vaccination, which will happen in selected medical centres right now.

Remember, a COVID vaccine is no different from other vaccines. However, since we are still in the middle of a pandemic, and a person won't be considered fully safe and immune till the time he/she gets the second dose, social distancing measures, mask-wearing and hand hygiene should be adhered to in the centre as well. Maintain six-feet distance and wear a mask while a shot is being given to you.

The vaccines will be administered via an intramuscular route, a small area on your arm will be first sterilized with a solution, and then the vaccine dose will be injected using a syringe. People who are successfully vaccinated will get a receipt informing them of the scheduled date of the next vaccine dose as well.

d) What to expect immediately after taking the vaccine shot?

After receiving the vaccine shot, as a safety measure, people might be asked to wait for a while (15-20 minutes). This is usually done to observe and attend to any reactions that may happen. Once done, a person is declared safe to go home.

Since vaccines work to create inflammatory reactions in the body after administration, one can expect certain side-effects.

While severe or fatal side-effects have been rarely recorded, most side-effects are reactogenic in nature. After you get the vaccine, be prepared to experience the following side-effects in the first 2-3 days:



-Muscle pain/ sensitivity in the area of administration



All these effects are considered to be a normal, good sign that a vaccine is doing its said job. These symptoms usually resolve on its own, but taking an over the counter medication may relieve discomfort.

Right now, it's also important for people to learn that a single dose of the vaccine won't really protect them. Getting both shots of the vaccine, as per schedule (12 or 28 days apart) will fully protect the body. If you don't take precautions, or get the second dose, you can still be at risk of catching COVID-19.

e) When would you know if you have a risk of suffering from adverse reactions?

The side-effects after getting a vaccine shot usually start to resolve 2-3 days after they start to show. Adverse reactions or side-effects are still unknown right now. However, people with allergies or those who have had bad experiences with vaccines in the past should be careful.

In general, if you experience any unusual side-effect which hasn't been listed down, impairs your health (such as shock, major swelling, redness or rashes), consider calling a doctor.

f) What should you do if suffer from reactions?

As per CDC recommendations right now, even the ones who do end up suffering from some side-effects should wait and get the second shot of the vaccine.

If you do end up suffering from unfortunate reactions after getting the vaccine, approach a doctor for help. He/she will help you decide the next course of action and specialize treatment.

Extreme reactions can range from shock, fainting, breathlessness.

g) Are there certain things you shouldn't do after getting the vaccine?

Again, there are no official guidelines or dos and don'ts to be followed after inoculation right now.

However, do remember that vaccines work on harnessing the body's inflammatory response. So, indulging in any task, or habit which disturbs that would be a bad call. It could also end up delaying metabolic functioning and generating necessary immune response.

As recent studies have pointed out, doing things which sustain healthy living is the best way to ensure that a vaccine does its job. So, work to alleviate stress levels, get ample sleep, be physically active and most importantly, eat well. Extreme obesity, stress, anxiety may diminish the working of the vaccine.”

We are sure our senior members, their children who repose trust on Porosh and many others who may have heard about us shall find this article really helpful. Incidentally, we have also started planning to get our members vaccinated after assessing the initial reports pertaining to the after-effect of vaccination.

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