With the COVID-19 vaccine being administered across the globe and in India, there is a new ray of hope in the fight against the COVID-19 infection.
While most of you are eagerly waiting for your turn to be vaccinated, there are multiple questions and confusions you might still have - about how to get vaccinated or about the effectiveness of the approved vaccines.
Currently, three vaccines are approved for emergency use in India - Covaxin, Covishield, and Sputnik V. Covaxin and Covishield are being administered across the country and Sputivik V will be rolled out from 01 May 2021.
Here’s a quick attempt to address some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) encircling around the COVID-19 vaccine. Read on carefully to find the answers to your questions.
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
1. How to Book a Vaccination Appointment?
After consulting your doctor, register yourself for getting the vaccination slot, either through the CoWIN App, or the Arogya Setu App. You can discuss with your general practitioner and follow his/her guidance as well for registration.
2. Can You Choose Which of The Approved Vaccines You Want to Take?
Since the coronavirus vaccination drive has begun in India, recipients of the vaccine are not given the choice to select which of the COVID-19 vaccines they want to be inoculated with. You will be vaccinated at the vaccination center with the available vaccine.
Reports claim that individuals registering themselves during the third phase of the COVID-19 vaccine drive (set to launch on May 1, 2021), will have the option to choose their own vaccination center and pick the one where their choice of jab is being administered. This is subject to change and may vary for different states across the country.
3. Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated?
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, breathlessness, sore throat, cold, cough, body ache, headache, or loss of sense of taste or smell, a day or two before the vaccination appointment or on the day of your appointment, consult your doctor immediately and do not go for the vaccination.
You should not take either Covaxin or Covishield if:
You have shown signs of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) like difficulty in breathing, swelling of the face and throat, fast heartbeat, rashes all over the body, etc., to any previously administered vaccine, drugs, food, or after receiving the first dose of Covaxin or Covishield.
You are immuno-compromised or on medications or steroids that are known to suppress or affect the immune system.
You are diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.
You are HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) positive.
You are a pregnant or a breastfeeding mother.
You have any bleeding disorders or are on blood thinners (medications that prevent the formation of blood clots).
You can take the Sputnik V vaccine if you have a known history of allergies. It is recommended to get blood tests for Immunoglobulin E and C-reactive protein done in case of allergies. If your results indicate normal limits, there should be no issue getting the shot.
However, reports suggest that individuals must not take the Sputnik vaccine jab if:
You are in an acute stage of an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
Your body temperature is above 38.5°C (101.3°F)
4. What Should You Follow When You go to Receive Your Vaccine Shot?
Keep the following in mind while stepping out for getting the COVID-19 vaccine:
Ensure to wear loose or short sleeves shirts or tops that can be rolled up easily for administering the shot.
Wear a proper-fitting, surgical face mask, and do not take it off at any point in time.
Carry a hand sanitizer and use it after touching common surfaces like railings, rods, doorknobs, and handles, etc.
Drink plenty of water and eat a proper meal (breakfast or lunch) before heading to the vaccination center.
Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet at all times, especially while at the waiting room and in the observation room at the vaccination center.
5. How Many Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Will You Receive and in What Time Gap?
Covaxin is a 2-dose vaccine with individual doses given 4 to 6 weeks (28 to 42 days) apart. Covishield is also a 2-dose vaccine with the second dose given between 4 to 8 weeks (28 days to 56 days) after the first dose.
For Sputnik V, the interval between two doses of the vaccine can range anywhere from 3 to 13 weeks (21 days to 90 days).
6. What Are The Efficacies of The Approved Vaccines?
As per data released through Phase III clinical trials, Covaxin has reported an efficacy rate (performance of a treatment or vaccine under controlled circumstances such as a clinical trial) of nearly 78 percent, and has an almost 100 percent efficacy rate against 'severe COVID-19 cases'.
The efficacy rate of Covishield is around 70 percent.
Currently, global clinical studies have shown it efficacy of Sputnik V to be about 91%.
7. If You Have an Underlying Health Condition or Comorbidity, Can You Take The COVID-19 Vaccine?
If you are someone with a comorbid condition such as diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure, cancer, etc., you are at high risk of getting severe/serious symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
Consult your doctor to understand if it safe for you to get vaccinated and then make an informed decision.
8. What Are The Vaccination Guidelines For Children in India?
The existing COVID-19 vaccines are not approved for children under the age of 18 years in India.
Children your than 18 years of age may respond differently to the vaccine than adults and without a trial, it is not advisable to administer the vaccine to children in this age group.
To get more information about vaccines for children, you will have to wait for updates from the government and other health institutions.
9. After Recovering From COVID-19 Infection, do You Still Need to Get Vaccinated?
It is advisable to get yourself vaccinated after recovering from COVID-19, as there are chances of reinfection. Discuss with your physician about getting vaccinated for COVID-19 even after recovery.
10. Can You Take Two Different Brands of Vaccine For Different Doses?
Experts currently recommend that you take both the doses of the same brand of COVID-19 vaccine and do not take different doses of different vaccines. Several studies and research is being conducted to study the effect of receiving different doses of multiple vaccines.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines. [online] Available at: <https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fvaccines%2Fvaccine-benefits%2Ffacts.html> [Accessed 25 February 2021].
2. Mohfw.gov.in. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/FAQsonCOVID19VaccineDecember2020.pdf> [Accessed 25 February 2021].
3. Who.int. 2021. The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: what you need to know. [online] Available at: <https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/the-oxford-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-what-you-need-to-know> [Accessed 25 February 2021].
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