The government of India opened up the vaccination drive for people over the age of 18 for COVID-19 from May 1st 2021. With this, a large number of eligible adults are participating in the world’s largest vaccine campaign. Amid this, there are many questions with regards to do’s and don’ts of the vaccination drive. In an exclusive conversation with The CSR Journal, Doctor Nirmal Gujarati answers all the questions about how safe the vaccine is, whether or not to consume alcohol before or after the vaccine, and so on.
How safe is it to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Getting the corona vaccine is 100% safe. According to the data of the vaccination drive published by the Government of India, only 0.03 persons out of about 120 million people have been infected with COVID after getting the first dose of the vaccine. The vaccine becomes even more effective after the second dose. Therefore statistically speaking, only about 18 thousand people out of 12 crores have been infected with COVID after getting jabbed. These figures are proof enough of the importance, effectiveness and safety of the vaccine.
What precautions must be taken getting Jabbed?
There are several precautionary measures that must be taken after getting jabbed. These measures are also explained at the vaccination centres via audio. One can get a fever after getting vaccinated, if it happens, one can take fever medicine. Additionally, there is a possibility of getting body ache, headache, minor fluctuation in blood pressure, and so on. As a precautionary measure, it is advised to rest out for 30 minutes immediately after getting vaccinated at the centre itself before leaving for home.
All the symptoms I mentioned above are normal. If one experiences them, one can consume a paracetamol tablet to manage them. However, one thing that everyone must remember is that we have to continue wearing masks even after getting vaccinated, hands have to be sanitized, distance has to be maintained.
Is it safe for pregnant women to get the corona vaccine?
According to the Society of Gynecologists, it is safe for pregnant women to get vaccinated. But the Government of India has not yet notified the same.
Is it Safe for Couples Who Want to Conceive to Get Vaccinated?
Couples who want to conceive should definitely get vaccinated. The vaccine has no effect on fertility whatsoever. The rumours that are circulating on WhatsApp and social media about the vaccine being unsafe for couples planning a child in near future are completely false.
Is it Safe for Women to get vaccinated During their Menstrual Cycle?
Yes. There is no evidence of any negative effect of getting vaccinated during menstrual cycle. These concerns are borne out of the baseless rumours on social media. It is advisable to not pay heed to them. If there is any doubt, one can consult a doctor, rather than the online content.
Can one Consume Alcohol Before or After the vaccination?
The Government of India website clearly mentions that alcohol consumption does not affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. However, as we know, that a person might get some symptoms such as fever, body ache, etc. after vaccination, it is advisable to avoid alcohol consumption at least 48 hours before and after getting vaccinated, so that those symptoms are not aggravated.
Is it safe to use other intoxicants, such as cigarettes, tobacco, etc. before or after vaccination?
It is very difficult for a person addicted to such intoxicants to quit the habit. As such there is no data or evidence that the effect of the vaccine has reduced after the consumption of these drugs. There are no clear guidelines regarding all these intoxicants like the ones about alcohol. But it is advisable to stay away from them for at least a few hours after taking the vaccine. Because according to research, people who consuming intoxicants or alcohol are more susceptible COVID.
Is there a need to change the diet before or after Vaccination
There is no relationship between the effectiveness of vaccine and diet. Eat what you have always been eating. Prefer eating a balanced and healthy diet.
After recovering from COVID, after how many days should one opt for getting vaccinated?
It is a must for the person who has already recovered from COVID, to get vaccinated. With regards to after how many days should one go for it, there are two opinions in medical fraternity. One section says that the infected person can get jabbed after 15 days. But we are advising that it is safe to get it after 4 to 6 weeks.
Due to the unavailability of vaccine, there are many people who have got the first dose but are unable to get the second shot of the vaccine. What problems could they face?
As I mentioned earlier, according to the official data, the immunity of a person is boosted by 99% after they take the first dose of vaccine. Therefore, there is nothing to fear if one is unable to secure the second dose immediately. However, it is important to ensure that the second dose is of the same vaccine as the first dose. One should avoid mixing the doses only because the one they took earlier is not yet available.
Which is a better choice of the vaccines – Covaxin or Covishield?
Both the vaccines are good and safe. Do not look for preferences. Get vaccinated whenever you get the appointment, with whichever dose available.
What is your appeal to the audience of The CSR Journal with regards to the vaccine?
The vaccination drive is going on for those above 18 years of age. The registration for the same is open on the CoWIN portal. Get yourself registered for getting vaccinated. Be sure to follow through with your appointment and please, oh please, get vaccinated to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic. We have experienced that when vaccinated persons test COVID positive, they are able to defeat it and are able to come out relatively unscathed. The vaccinated persons are also less likely to get infected in the first place. So please, get vaccinated. It is very safe.
How was your experience of getting vaccinated?
As a healthcare worker, I was given a dose of Covishield from my hospital. The day I got vaccinated, I had to perform three operations. I experienced some tiredness after going home and a little body ache. However, after that, I did not face any discomfort. I got my second jab a month later. There too, I faced no problems. I have been monitoring COVID patients for almost a year. I have not faced any problems whatsoever.