Covid-19 Vaccine: Everything You Need To Know

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Here are some of the things you need to know about Covid-19 vaccine, and some precautions that you should take before getting vaccinated.

More than 1.63 crore people have received a coronavirus vaccine in India so far. While there has been no case of any adverse effect on anyone, some recipients have reported some side-effects or mild illness.

A large number of experts have underlined that these are expected in a small number of cases — and that these ought not to dissuade people from taking the shot.

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Dr Shashank Joshi, member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force, said both the vaccines being used in India, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, a version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, are absolutely safe — and minor side-effects are expected in some cases, not just for these particular vaccines, but any other vaccine as well.

Here are some of the things you need to know, and some precautions that you should take before getting vaccinated.

Before vaccination:

👉 In case a person has allergies to medication or drugs, it is important to get an all-clear from a medical practitioner. A complete blood count (CBC), C-reactive protein (CRP), or Immunoglobulin-E (IgE) levels can be checked under medical advice.

👉 One should eat well and take medicines, if prescribed, ahead of vaccination. One should try to be as relaxed as possible; counselling can help people who are feeling anxious.

👉 People with diabetes or blood pressure need to keep these in check. Cancer patients, especially those on chemotherapy, must act on medical advice.

👉 People who have received blood plasma or monoclonal antibodies as part of Covid-19 treatment or those who have been infected in the last one and a half months are advised to not take the vaccine right now.

After vaccination:

👉 A recipient of the vaccine is monitored at the vaccine centre itself to guard against any immediate severe allergic reaction. People are allowed to leave only after it has been ascertained that this is not the case.

👉 Side effects like pain at the injection site and fever are common. This is no reason to panic. Some other side effects like chills and fatigue might also be expected, but these go away in a few days.

Important to notes:

🔴 Vaccines teach our immune system how to recognise and fight an external threat — in this case, the virus that causes Covid-19. It typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus.

🔴 This means that a person could still get infected by Covid-19 in the few days immediately following the vaccination, because the person would not have had enough time to develop immunity.

🔴 Therefore, basic precautionary measures must be followed even after vaccination. Face masks, hand hygiene, and physical distancing in public places must not be abandoned just because a vaccine has been taken. Cough/sneeze etiquette also needs to be followed.

Dos:

  1. Talk to your GP. Understand how the vaccine works.
  2. In case you have allergies to any medication, or drugs, it is important to get an all-clear from your family doctor or medical practitioner.
  3. Your doctor may order some routine examinations. A complete blood count (CBC), C-reactive protein (CRP), or Immunoglobulin-E (IgE) are likely to be advised before the doctors says you can go ahead with the vaccination.
  4. Eat a light meal before leaving home. You may not be able to have anything immediately after, at least for a few minutes.
  5. Relax. Its like any other vaccination drive. Stay positive and cautious. If you are feeling anxious, a health counsellor can help you cope.
  6. Wear light, comfortable clothes. In all probability, you will be sitting while being given the shot in your arm.
  7. Go to the vaccination centre with a proper mask covering your mouth and nose, and stay at least six feet away from others until it is your turn to take the shot.

Don’ts:

  1. Do not hide any ailments/conditions or allergies from your certifying doctor who gives you the go-ahead for the vaccination.
  2. Do not consume alcohol or any substance before being vaccinated, nor during and after.
  3. While at the vaccination centre, don’t touch items or other patients around the place. Basically, maintain regular COVID-19-appropriate protocol.
  4. Do not self-medicate: Do not listen to any ‘friendly’ advice to take any Over-The-Counter drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen – painkillers etc – in anticipation of potentially having side effects from the vaccine. Your doctor knows best. Consult the expert. 

Commonly reported side effects after vaccination:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Swelling in the arm where you got your shot
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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