Should You Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19?

India is one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines in the lithe world today. We have the expertise and experience in being the world leaders in manufacturing vaccines against measles, polio, Japanese B encephalitis, rabies and many more. Vaccination in India against COVID-19 Is almost a certainty in the next few days.

Does the COVID -19 vac-cine cause side effects?

There are minor side effects, particularly after the second dose. They may include pain at the site of injection, fever, feeling tired and headache. They may remain only for a day or two. They only indicate that the number system is responding to the vaccine. In the US less than 0.2% had serious complications. In India, you will be monitored for 15 to 30 minutes to make sure that you do not have an allergic reaction. In general, the vaccine is absolutely safe in the majority of the population.

Can I get COVID-19 infection from the vaccine?

No, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine does not contain the actual virus. In fact, the viral protein spike triggers an immune response in your body that forms neutralising antibodies against the virus. These antibodies protect you from viral infection.

Is the vaccine available in India 100% effective?

About 70% to 80% of individuals will launch a successful immune response after getting vaccinated. This immunity is likely to remain for less than a year. Later yearly vaccination is likely to be recommended to all.

What happens to those who do not launch a successful immune response?

They still get benefits of vaccination. In case they get COVID-19 infection, they get it in a very mild form. They may have a positive RTPCR test, but with no symptoms. They will not die due to the infection. Those success-fully immunised will not get the infection and hence will not spread the infection. This will contribute to herd immunity in a big way. Even if
60% of the population gets immunisation against COVID-19, the pandemic will come under control. Hence every person suit-able for the vaccine should get them vaccinated.

Do I still need the vaccine if I had COVID-19?

Yes. Experts recommend getting vaccinated even if you had COVID-19 in the past. People who get COVID-19 do develop anti-bodies that likely provide some protection against getting infected again. But it is not known exactly how long antibodies last after a person recovers.

Can children get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine has not been tested in the very young. As the more experience gets accumulated, the younger population is likely to be vaccinated. Those above 18 years are sure to be vaccinated in the later phase.

Is the vaccine safe in pregnancy?

Experts are still studying the safety of the vaccine in pregnancy. Pregnant women are likely to have a severe form of the disease. At present they are not recommended in pregnancy or in breastfeeding women. Once more data is available, we may have some recommendations on this.

When will I get the vaccine?

While it may take more than a year for everyone to get a vaccine, those at high risk of getting the infection would get it initially. This includes the front line health workers that include Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, supportive staff in the hospitals and people from the security sector like police personnel and armed forces. Those above 65 years with comorbid issues like cancer, Diabetes and Hypertension, those with cardiovascular, chronic kidney and liver diseases and those on immune suppressant therapies after transplants or those with autoimmune diseases are likely to get vaccinated initially. This is because these individuals are at a greater risk of getting infected and have a more serious form of the disease. The remaining population will get the vaccine after the vulnerable population is vaccinated.

If I get the vaccine, can I stop social distancing and wearing a mask?

Not yet. It is still possible to get the infection even if the vaccine works very well. It will also take some time to learn exactly how long immunity lasts after a person gets a vaccine. For the time being, it is important to continue social distancing, wearing a face mask in public, and washing your hands often. While this will not go on forever, for now, this is the best thing we can do to slow the spread.

When will the pandemic end?

The pandemic will end when we will have the herd immunity. This is when enough people are immune to a disease that it can no longer spread easily. When vaccines are widely available, this is the best way to make peo-ple immune. The more people who get vaccinated, the sooner we will get back to absolute normalcy. The vaccines are ready for Indians and many thousands of Indians would get vaccinated in the next few weeks. This will be the largest ever vaccination programme carried out anywhere in the world so far. Please cooperate with the health care authorities. Do not fall prey to rumours about the non-existent side effects. Be a part of the world’s biggest-ever health festival.

Categories : COVID-19
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Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.

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