Why is it important to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Covid-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc across the globe. But now we have a major weapon in our fight against this virulent disease – the Covid-19 vaccine.
While getting vaccinated might not be compulsory in India, it is extremely important that you do so at the earliest possible opportunity.
This is because the Covid vaccine can protect you and the members of your household against the disease and greatly reduce your chances of serious illness and hospitalization.
Things to keep in mind before your vaccination
As of May 1, 2021, all individuals above the age of 18 are eligible for the vaccine. However, before they get the shot, there are a few points to remember before taking the Covid vaccine.
- You need to register – to get the vaccine, one needs to register on the CoWIN Portal. You can either do this directly on the CoWIN website or app, or through the Aarogya Setu app.
- Book a slot – once you have registered on CoWIN, you can look for available slots at Covid Vaccine Centres (CVCs) near you and schedule an appointment. You can also see which vaccine you are getting at the centre on the app.
- Getting a Covid test – while it is not required to take an antibody or RT-PCR test for Covid-19 before taking the vaccine, some doctors recommend it just to ensure you are negative prior to vaccination.
- Taking medication – the Covid vaccine might result in a few side effects, but it is very important not to take any medication before you receive the vaccine to reduce side effects.This is because they might affect how the vaccine works. However, you will be free to take paracetamol or other painkillers to deal with side effects AFTER getting the shot.
What are the steps for getting vaccinated?
Once you have booked your vaccine appointment, here are the steps that you need to follow when visiting a centre to get your dose:
Step 1 – Appointment details: When you book your appointment, you will receive an SMS with the date, time, and place to get your vaccination. Save this message.
Step 2 – Confirm your appointment: Before you go, contact the vaccination centre to confirm your appointment (using your personal Reference ID from the CoWIN portal).
Step 3 – Correct documents: Make sure that you have the photo ID card that you used to book your appointment, as well as your Aadhaar card. (Always wear a mask or two masks when you step outside).
Step 4 – Check in at the centre: Head to the vaccination centre that you have chosen and show your confirmation SMS and ID card to the Vaccination Officer No 1 (VO-1).
Step 5 – Get your details verified: A second Vaccination Officer (VO-2) will cross verify and authenticate your details and documents on CoWIN.
Step 6 – Waiting: You might need to wait for up to an hour before your name is called.
Step 7 – Get the vaccine: When your name is called, another Vaccination Officer (VO-3), a healthcare practitioner, will administer the dose of the vaccine to you.
Step 8 – Monitoring time: Once the vaccine is administered, you will be asked to wait in an observation area for 15-30 minutes so that the health worker can see if you have any unusual reaction.
Step 9 – Second dose: Once you are done with the first dose of vaccine, you will receive an SMS with the date for your second dose. Make sure to repeat the above steps and get the second dose to ensure complete protection against Covid-19.
What to do after getting the vaccine?
Once you have gotten your dose, there are some things to keep in mind after getting the Covid vaccine.
1) After the First Dose:
- Stay at the vaccination centre for 15-30 minutes after you receive the dose so healthcare workers can monitor your reaction.
- Check when you need to get the second dose, as it is different for each vaccine.
- Make sure your first dose has been updated on CoWIN.
- You can take painkillers or paracetamol to deal with any side effects of the vaccine.
2) After the Second Dose:
- Once again, you will have to remain for monitoring for at least 15-30 minutes.
- Ensure that the second dose has been updated on CoWIN (it should say that you are “fully vaccinated”).
- Download the Vaccination Certificate from the CoWIN portal for proof of vaccination.
- You may feel more intense side effects after your second dose than the first time, so once again, keep painkillers and paracetamol handy to deal with them.
What are the side effects of taking the Covid vaccine?
When you take the Covid-19 vaccine, you might experience some minor side effects. However, it is very important to remember that this is not any cause for concern. The side effects just indicate that your body is building up immunity to protect against Covid-19, and they will go away within a few days. These side effects include:
- Pain at the injection site
- Fatigue and body ache
- Muscle and joint pain
- Abdominal pain
In case the pain at the injection site increases after 24 hours, or if you feel that the other side effects are not going away after a few days, contact your doctor.
Also, please keep in mind that those who experience immediate and severe allergic reactions to the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine should not receive the second dose.
Who all are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine?
Do some people need to consult a doctor before getting the Covid vaccine?
Some people might need to consult with their doctors before registering for and getting the Covid-19 vaccine. These people might include:
Pregnant and lactating women – while it is safe for most pregnant and lactating women to take the vaccine, it is still important for them to consult with their gynaecologist and paediatrician before making any decision.
People with medical conditions – those who have underlying medical conditions (or co-morbidities) such as hypertension, diabetes, kidney illnesses, or heart disease must consult their doctor and ask them whether it is safe to take the vaccine jab or not.
People who already have severe allergies – if someone has a history of an anaphylactic or allergic reaction to vaccines, injectable therapies, pharmaceutical products, or any food items, they must talk to their doctor about whether or not they should get the vaccine.
Those with autoimmune disorders – people with such disorders (such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, or psoriasis) already have sensitive immune systems, so they need to check with their doctors if the vaccine can worsen their conditions.