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Must read before you take the jab

Vaccine is safe in patients with hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, and heart disease, among those who have undergone bypass, post-angiography, and those on dialysis…writes Rahul Pandit.

Covid 19 and vaccination is still the important topic for people around the world. We have entered the second phase of the worlds largest immunisation programme. However, several looming questions could hamper the success of this programme and weaken the fight against Covid-19.

Yes, vaccination is the most effective tool to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and help us succeed in our mission to restore normalcy! Having said that, the Covid-19 vaccination drive in India has seen much momentum since Day 1. With an enthusiastic push from the civic bodies, we are slowly but steadily approaching our target goals. After successful round of vaccination for the healthcare providers and frontline workers, we have now moved to vaccinate and protect seniors above 60 years of age, and those above 45 years with comorbidities.

Here’s a guideline to help proceed with vaccinating yourself and your loved ones:

1. All adults should take the Covid-19 vaccine and encourage others to take it as well

2. You should have had your meals, and be well hydrated for your vaccination

3. Only people who have an Anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) to any of the vaccine contents, should not take the vaccine

4. All approved vaccines, including ‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’ have;

*100 per cent efficacy in preventing death due to Covid-19

*Very high efficacy against severe Covid-19

*High to moderate efficacy (60%-95%) against symptomatic Covid-19

*Poor efficacy only against asymptomatic Covid-19

5. Vaccinating the high-risk vulnerable population — above 60 years and above 45 years with comorbidities will bring down the mortality rate to ‘very low’, as currently, this group forms almost 90 per cent of patients who succumb to the disease. Therefore, we must encourage people in these age groups to be vaccinated

6. People with previous Covid-19 infection should take the vaccine only after 8-12 weeks of recovery from Covid-19

7. A person who has received plasma therapy to treat a previous Covid-19 infection should wait for 8-12 weeks before taking the vaccine

8. Vaccine is safe in patients with hypertension, diabetes, renal failure, and heart disease, among those who have undergone bypass, post-angiography, and those on dialysis

9. In pregnant women, if the benefit outweighs the risks of the vaccine, then you may take the vaccine. e.g. a frontline pregnant worker should take the vaccine

10. There is no data on how long pregnancy should be avoided post-vaccination. However, as it is an inactivated or dead virus it should be safe after 6-8 weeks of vaccination to conceive

11. Vaccine is safe among those with a food allergy, drug allergy (other than the vaccine components) and common allergic conditions like asthma, allergic rhinitis and allergic dermatitis. But consult your doctor before enrolling yourself

12. People on anti-platelet agents like aspirin and clopidogrel should take the Covid-19 vaccine without stopping their medication

13. Patients on blood thinners like warfarin or newer anti-coagulation agents have a small risk of injection site swelling. Patients who are on these newer agents can skip their morning dose, take the vaccine and continue the next regular dose

14. Patients with neurological complications like stroke, Parkinson’s, dementia should take the vaccine as it is safe for them

15. Patients on immunosuppressant’s (i.e. patients who’ve undergone organ transplants) of any type can safely take the vaccine. However, immune response may not be complete. Check with your doctor before enrolling

16. It is false that alcohol is not allowed post-vaccine or that vaccine causes impotency or that vaccine will change the DNA of a person

17. There are currently no trials available on children, hence vaccination for those below 18 years can be delayed for now

18. Patients with cancer and those undergoing chemotherapy should consult their doctor and seek an appropriate window for vaccination between the chemotherapy cycles. Ideally, the patient should wait for at least 4 weeks post-chemotherapy to take their vaccine

19. Fever, body ache, dizziness, headaches are common symptoms post-vaccination

20. A simple paracetamol can be taken post-vaccination if required, and most symptoms would be well controlled

Do not believe in rumours, the best way to get the right information is to speak to doctors at medical centres who are offering the Covid-19 vaccination. Remember, vaccine-induced immunity is as important as herd immunity. It is the current and the only way to tackle the growing menace of the virus. Let’s all come together to fight back and end the pandemic once and for all.

(The author is Director-Critical Care, Fortis Hospitals Mumbai and Member–Maharashtra’s Covid Taskforce)

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