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Frequently asked questions about COVID19 vaccines in India

Posted on: 09 May 2021

By: Dr Vinoth Kumar

Published in:

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The COVID 19 pandemic which started in 2019 is still continuing to kill millions of lives throughout the world and vaccination seems to be the only way out. In this page, we tried to answers the common questions about COVID-19 vaccines, including vaccine safety, who should get the vaccine, and who shouldn’t.

Frequently asked questions about COVID19 vaccines in India

  1. How many vaccines are available for COVID 19 in India?

2 vaccines were available in India for COVID 19 in India till April – covishield and covaxin. From the month of May, a new vaccine from Russia called Sputnik V vaccine is also approved by the government and will soon be available for use

  1. Who can take these vaccines?

Any individual who is above 18 yrs. of age is eligible to take these vaccines

  1. Who can never take these vaccines?

If you had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose of the vaccine or you have a known severe allergy to any of the components of the vaccine then you can’t take the vaccine

  1. Can children be vaccinated with these vaccines?

No. As on date studies are not completed on children less than 18 yrs of age. So the available vaccines cannot be given to children. But recommendations will change once these studies are completed.

  1. Can pregnant and breastfeeding mothers be vaccinated?

Pregnant women may be offered a choice to take any COVID-19 Vaccine. Breastfeeding mothers are eligible for getting vaccinated anytime after their delivery.

  1. Can I take the vaccine if I have associated medical illnesses like Diabetes, High BP, Cancer, heart failure, Chronic kidney/ liver / lung diseases?

Yes. In fact, it becomes even more important to take the vaccination in such conditions as these people are more prone for severe COVID disease.

  1. Should I stop my routine medicines during vaccination?

No. Most medications prescribed for Diabetes, BP and Heart problems including blood thinners like Aspirin can be continued during and after vaccination. Any special medications can be taken after discussing with your treating doctor.

  1. Can I take the vaccines if I am on anticoagulants like heparin or warfarin ?

YES.

Before taking the vaccine you can get your INR checked and if the value is < 4 then you can safely get vaccinated.

After injecting the vaccine, pressure should be applied at the injection site for a minimum of 5 minutes.

If there is any swelling at the injection site after vaccination you need to check it with your doctor to rule out hematoma.

  1. Are these vaccines safe if I am immune-compromised?

Yes. Even if you are on steroids, vaccines can be safely taken. But vaccine efficacy may be slightly reduced compared to others.

  1. Should I get vaccinated if I already got Covid infection?

Yes. Since the duration of protection offered by natural infection is still not clear, it is mandatory to get vaccination.

  1. How long should I wait to get vaccination after the COVID infection?

3 Months after complete recovery of symptoms

  1. What should I do if I get COVID infection after my 1st dose of COVID vaccine? Should I still go for the 2nd dose?

Yes. But 3 months after complete recovery of symptoms. In such cases no need to repeat the 1st dose

  1. Is it safe to take alcohol after vaccination?

Yes. Alcohol has shown no interference with vaccination. But it is better to avoid binge drinking.

  1. Is it safe for women to get vaccination during menstruation?

Yes. It is absolutely safe.

  1. Is it possible to get the infection because of the vaccination itself?

No. none of the available COVID vaccines are live vaccines so there is absolutely no chance of getting the infection via vaccination

  1. How long it takes for the vaccine to protect me against the infection?

As per available data, it takes 2 weeks from the completion of full course of the vaccine ( 2 doses ) to give adequate protection

  1. After taking the vaccines will I definitely not get the infection?

No. Though all the available vaccine have good efficacy, none of the vaccines can protect you 100 % against the infection. As per data the chances of getting the infection after 2 doses of Covishield vaccine is 0.03 % and for Covaxin it is 0.04%.

  1. Is it safe to take these Vaccines along with other vaccines ?

As data regarding co vaccination with other vaccines is limited, it is better to give 2 weeks gap between COVID vaccines and other vaccines. But in case of emergencies like Rabies vaccine ( for dog bite ) it is ok to administer irrespective of the gap from COVID vaccines.

  1. How long does these vaccines offer protection? Will there be a need for booster dose?

Don’t know. Data regarding the duration of protection is not available yet.

  1. Can I take the second dose with a different vaccine from the first one ?

No. As on date studies have not been completed for these kind of combinations to recommend these.

  1. Will other common vaccines protect against COVID19?

No. studies with BCG ,MMR vaccines are underway but none of them provide any useful protection against COVID19 disease.

  1. I already took 2 doses of COVID 19 vaccine. Should I still wear a mask?

Yes. It is important to continue to wear a mask, observe physical distancing and maintain hand hygiene even after getting the vaccine.

  1. Are these vaccines safe? Will I get blood clots because of the vaccination?

These vaccines are proven to be safe in large scale studies. As far as blood clots (thrombosis) is concerned, the risk is almost same as in general population. Actually, the risk of blood clots is much higher with COVID infection.