An Overview of who can and cannot take the Covid-19 Vaccine
And who should consult a doctor before getting it.
While the Covid-19 pandemic is still active across the globe, we now have one major weapon against this virulent disease – the Covid-19 vaccine.
Lots of vaccines have been developed around the world. However, in India, three vaccines are currently available, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, and the Russian Sputnik V.
In India, a nation-wide vaccination drive started on 16 January 2021, and over a number of phases, different groups of people have become eligible to get the vaccine.
Who is eligible to take the Covid-19 vaccine?
Currently, almost everyone above the age of 18 is eligible to get the vaccine in India.
The first phase of vaccination began on 16 January 2021 and involved frontline workers, like healthcare professionals and other essential workers such as police, paramilitary forces, and sanitation workers.
The second phase from 1 March 2021 made the vaccine eligible to all individuals above 60 years, as well as those above the age of 45 with comorbidities (such as diabetes, heart conditions, HIV, or some types of cancers).
During the third phase, from 1 April 2021, everyone above the age of 45 became eligible for the shot.
From 1 May 2021, the government opened vaccinations to everyone above 18 years of age.
Who is not eligible to take the vaccine?
However, there are still some people who are not eligible to take the vaccine. These include:
- Children below the age of 18 – the currently available vaccines have not been evaluated in children so far. And since mortality rates are several times higher in adults, while most cases in children have been seen to be either asymptomatic or mild infections, adult vaccination has been given priority.
- People who have tested positive for Covid-19 – those who have tested positive for Covid before getting any doses must wait for 6-12 weeks after recovery to get their first dose. On the other hand, those who test positive after the first dose and before the second should wait for 4-8 weeks after recovery for the second dose.
Who should consult a doctor before getting the Covid-19 vaccine?
Not everyone needs to consult with their doctor and ask them whether it is safe to take the vaccine jab or not before getting their Covid vaccines, but some people do. These include:
- People with medical conditions – those who have underlying medical conditions (or comorbidities) like hypertension, diabetes, kidney illnesses, or heart disease.
- Pregnant and lactating women – though it is safe for most pregnant and lactating women to take the vaccine, they still need to consult with their gynaecologist and/or paediatrician before making any decision.
- People who already have severe allergies – those who have a history of anaphylactic or allergic reactions to vaccines, other injections, medicines, or any food items, must talk to their doctor about whether or not they should get the vaccine.
- People with autoimmune disorders – those with autoimmune disorders like lupus, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, or psoriasis already have sensitive immune systems, so they need to consult with their doctors.