Here's what you need to know before taking the COVID-19 vaccine
March marks the first anniversary since India began fighting a virus that bought the world to a standstill. Almost 11 months into the fight, since the first case was detected in the country, India now has two indigenously developed vaccines. Both the vaccines -- Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India -- were recently approved for 'restricted emergency use'
The country is now waiting for the vaccination drives to begin, and reports suggest that the drive may start as soon as January 13, 2021. Apart from that several other vaccines are also in the pipeline and are conducting trials.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quoted at the 16th 'Pravasi Bharatiya Divas' convention saying, "Earlier, India used to import PPE kits, masks, ventilators and testing kits from outside, but today it is self-reliant. Today, India is ready with two 'Made in India' Covid-19 vaccines to save humanity,"
According to the plan, The Central government is expected to vaccinate nearly 30 crore people in the first phase of the vaccination drive. The preference will be given to one crore healthcare workers, followed by two crore frontline workers and people belonging to essential services.
Elderly and people will comorbidities will also be vaccinated in the first phase. The service is also expected to be free for most frontline and healthcare workers according to reports.
But before we gear up to take the vaccine, The Bridge Chronicle asked Dr Prashant Borade, Head- Critical Care Unit, Global Hospitals, Mumbai to answer some frequently asked questions about the vaccine.
1. Is it mandatory to get vaccinated in India?
At present, there's no such mandate or a compulsion to get the vaccine. But it is ideal, as herd immunity will only be achieved after the vaccination of more than 80 per cent of the population.
2. Should I get a vaccine if I already have antibodies?
Yes preferably, as research data has not answered the question of how fast your antibodies reduce after COVID19 infection. Also, having a vaccine may give a boost to the memory of antibody-forming cells for longer protection from the virus.
3. Should I get a vaccine if I am currently being treated for COVID?
No, patients with active covid infections should wait for around 14 days after symptoms reduce as they might spread the virus at the vaccination centres.
4. Can older people on medication for diabetes take the vaccine?
Yes they can
5. Do I need to fast before taking the vaccine?
No such advice has been issued by the authorities.
6. Can I contract the disease even after getting the vaccine?
After vaccination, you may be protected but you may continue to spread the infection. All the regular protective measures need to continue even after vaccination till the herd immunity is achieved at by vaccination of more than 80 to 90 per cent of the population
(With inputs from IANS)