These days, everyone is talking about the various types of Covid-19 vaccines available. There are a lot of questions on their safety, efficacy, contraindications, and side-effects. Suddenly, people are lowering their guard, especially the younger generation while the virus is still lurking around the corner. Evidence suggests that even after the vaccination, one cannot lower their guard and start roaming around freely till at least 70% of the population gets immunized. This along with the possibility of another surge or a variant of this current virus reaching our shore are also possible. We need to be self-disciplined and follow all the safety protocols which we have followed so far.
So, let me arrive at the point straight. If you have a chance to get vaccinated either by the one produced by Bharat Bio-Tech (COVAXIN) or the one by Oxford- AstraZeneca and manufactured by the largest vaccine Manufacturer of the World (COVISHIELD)- Serum Institute of India, you should consider yourself lucky and gratefully accept it. Both the institutions are globally acclaimed and have been supplying various safe and effective vaccines across the world. Don’t be waylaid by rumors and WhatsApp knowledge.
The Oxford-Astra Zeneca vaccine is awaiting WHO recognition in one or two weeks while Bharat Biotech, COVAXIN is running emergency clinical trials in 14 states. The one produced by Bharat Bio-Tech is from an attenuated Covid-19 strain while the one from Oxford Astra Zeneca is from the DNA Technique. Both vaccines have a 60-75% efficacy rate.
The vaccination centers are also well equipped to respond immediately if you develop a severe allergic reaction post-vaccination. A detailed medical history is taken to check for any contradictions before giving the vaccine shots to you.
As a Doctor, I would like to get my shot in a clean and well-ventilated center which are taking all the precautions from Covid-19 cross-infection and is maintaining all the protocols for Covid-19 protection.
While taking the shot, make sure the nurse is sanitizing her hand and wearing appropriate PPE or wearing a sterile glove. She is using a fresh needle (18) to withdraw the vaccine from the bottle and giving you the correct dose with a fresh needle (21). She needs to inject it in the right site and right depth. Make sure the needles and the syringes used are properly disposed of. If you have any apprehension about the vaccine, you can check with the healthcare professional.
Please wait in the center for 30 minutes post-vaccination. Make an appointment for your second dose as well. Keep looking for any late allergic reactions like hives, sudden swelling of eyes, choking sensations in the throat, etc. This will subside after taking anti-allergic tablets or talking to the doctor. Young people usually get more reactions than the elderly and that too after the second dose. You might encounter, fever, malaise and pain at the site- but very rarely it is severe. These reactions show that your immune system is working. Hopefully, the memory cell of the second immune response will come into play if the Covid-19 virus attacks you in future.
We do not know yet, how long the antibodies generated, and the memory response generated by these vaccines will last. Currently, it’s estimated as 16-18 months.
There is an unnecessary discussion going on regarding which vaccine is superior and whether we should wait for a more specific RNA vaccine like that of Pfizer or Moderna Biotech which are now being used in the USA exclusively. No doubt they score over the other vaccines which are produced either by dead virus or attenuated virus. These vaccines need to maintain -70 to 80-degree Celsius temperature while in transit without breaking the chain, this is not possible in India as of now.
I will conclude by saying, both vaccines are safe and effective, and everyone should take them. Also, continue taking all the precautions, whether vaccinated or not till 70% of our population is vaccinated.
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