Hi everyone. I myself got vaccinated and I am still safe despite of working for hours in hospital..
It's been a few months now since anti - covid vaccination was started in our country. But even now, awareness remains poor...
So We have compiled a list of some important and practical points about vaccination from our experience and research. Do feel free to ping me for any queries.
1) Should I get the vaccine if eligible? -
Yes, as soon as possible.
2) Which vaccine to take? -
For immunocompromised and elderly people - Take Covaxin . All others can take either vaccine, but make sure you take the second dose of the same vaccine (don't mix and match).
3) I had covid recently? Should I get vaccine? If yes, when?
Yes please take the vaccine even if you had Covid - 19 infection previously. But delay your vaccine for 90 days from the day you came positive.
4) I took first dose of vaccine and then I came Covid - 19 positive a few days/ few weeks later. What to do about second dose?
In this case Covid - 19 infection already acts like a booster after first dose. So delay second dose for 60 - 90 days after coming positive.
5) Pfizer has 95% efficacy while Covishield only has efficacy between (62 - 90%)? Are we being given an inferior vaccine?
Pfizer and Moderna trials were completed much earlier than Covishield (AstraZeneca)/ J & J/ Covaxin trials. At that time variants were not in circulation. So, we can't say for sure.
Until trials for 2 vaccines are held at the same time, in the same population, specifically to compare - we can't say which vaccine is better and which one is worse.
6) What about variants? Covishield is not effective against South African variant.
Trials have shown that efficacy of Covishield goes down significantly against South African variant. However, it still showed excellent protection against hospitalisation and death irrespective of variants. So, it's still advisable to take the vaccine.
7) What about blood clots? Is it safe to take the vaccine?
The chances of blood clots are around 400 times more if you smoke and 40000 times more if you get Covid - 19 infection as compared to taking AstraZeneca/Covishield vaccine. Clotting is an extremely rare side effect, so please go ahead and take the vaccine. But if you are a known patient of some clotting or bleeding disorder , Do not take it
8) I know atleast 8 - 10 people who took first dose and got infected. I also know 2 - 3 people who took both doses and still got infected? What then is the point of the vaccine?
It is very important to manage our expectations from the vaccine. It is not showing significant protection against infection. It should protect you from significant disease and hospitalisation. Full protective effect develops 2 - 3 weeks after second dose. Please continue taking all precautions even after vaccination.
9) What should be the gap between 2 doses of Covishield and Covaxin?
For Covishield - government now recommends 6 - 8 week interval between 2 doses. A larger gap between 2 doses has been shown to increase efficacy.
For Covaxin, stick to a 4 week interval between the 2 doses.
10) I have taken 2 doses of Covishield. Should I take Covaxin / another vaccine/another shot of Covishield for additional protection?
Please don't. It might be counterproductive/ harmful.
11) I am extremely fit. I go to the gym everyday and also do yoga. I have no co morbidities and I also take multiple supplements everyday and Dabur Chyawanprash. I would rather rely on my immunity than a vaccine.
Kudos to you. By taking good care of yourself, you have reduced your chances of severe disease and death as compared to an unfit person. You have been smart, so please don't make a stupid decision now. Presently we are seeing severe disease and death even among young people in their 20's/early 30's - without any prior disease/ co morbs. So, please take the vaccine as soon as possible if eligible.
12. Authorised age group - above 18 years ( no trials done on pregnant and lactating females , so they can avoid it for now )
13. People with food allergies or knows drug allergies, contact your doctor before getting vaccinated
14. In case of any allergy to previous dose , avoid the second dose of vaccine
15. Check the expiry date and name of vaccine on the vial before getting it. And note down the date of your vaccination.
P.S. - Please remember that while vaccine efficacy might vary widely, masks have an 100?ficacy against Covid - 19 infection. So, please mask up!
P.P.S. - WHO estimates that many poor countries will have first access to vaccine only by 2023 - 24 (unless someone donates). We are extremely lucky that we have a vaccine production industry in our country. So, please get vaccinated as soon as possible and motivate others for the same...
Situation is getting worse day by day and we can control that if we together act in a sensible manner :)
In case of further queries feel free to reach any health care worker near you, they are there to help you.
-Dr Manali satiza