The national drug regulator on Sunday gave “emergency restricted” approval for two vaccine candidates, Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, and Covishield, a version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine that is being manufactured under licence by SII-Serum Institute of India.
With over 1 crore people having been infected with COVID-19, a prominent question that comes up is whether a previously infected person also needs to be vaccinated. This is especially a question because of heightened talks previously about herd immunity in several countries. The entire concept of herd immunity is based on the assumption that a person once infected by coronavirus would not be infected again due to the antibodies, and eventually, this number will become sufficiently large to protect the vulnerable population.
Apart from that, the multiple serosurveys being carried out across the country check participants for antibodies to determine whether they have been exposed to the virus. Since the vaccines also work to trigger the immune system to build these antibodies itself, it is only natural that several people would be confused whether a previously infected person needs to be vaccinated or not.
As the country took the final step to begin vaccinating priority groups against the novel coronavirus, AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria, who has been at the forefront of the government’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic, released a video on the vaccination.
Who gets the Covid-19 vaccine first, and how?
Priority groups such as healthcare workers, frontline workers are first on the list, followed by people over the age of 50 years and the persons under 50 years with co-morbid conditions.
The eligible beneficiaries will be informed through the registered mobile numbers regarding the health facility where the vaccine will be provided, and the health schedule.
Will it be mandatory to take the vaccine?
The vaccine will be voluntarily. However, it is advisable to complete the vaccine schedule in order to protect ourselves, our near and dear ones, our close contacts, family members, and co-workers.
Is registration with the health department mandatory?
Registration is mandatory for vaccination. The information on the session site (where vaccination will take place) to visit, and the time will be shared with the beneficiary only after registration.
Will a Covid infected person need a Coronavirus vaccine?
As a response to this question, the ministry stated that irrespective of the history of COVID-19 infection, it was advisable for everyone to complete the vaccination schedule of COVID-19. The ministry said that it would help in building a strong immunity against the coronavirus-induced infection. This is important because several people exposed to the novel coronavirus are not able to generate sufficient antibodies to effectively fight the infection. Moreover, it has been found that the antibodies generated in a person infected by COVID-19 start to decrease after two to three months. This might leave them vulnerable to a re-infection. While not much is known about coronavirus re-infection, several cases have cropped up in Europe. This makes it important to get vaccinated against the virus even if an infection has previously occurred.
How will I know if I am eligible for vaccination?
In the initial phase, Covid-19 vaccine will be provided to priority group that includes healthcare and frontline workers. Citizens above 50 years of age may also be preferred depending upon the availability of vaccine. The eligible beneficiaries of Covid-19 vaccination will be informed via their registered mobile numbers regarding the location of the health facility and the scheduled time in which vaccine will be registered.
Is it possible to get vaccinated for Covid-19 without registering with the health department?
No. Registration for the Covid-19 vaccination with the health department is mandatory. It is only after the registration that the details of the locations and time schedule of the vaccination centre will be shared with the beneficiary.
What documents are needed for registration of an eligible beneficiary?
Government identification cards, namely, driving licence, Health Insurance smart card issued by the Ministry of Labour, MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) job card, official ID cards issued by MPs, members of state legislature, Permanent Account Number (PAN) card, passbooks issued by the banks or post offices, pension documents, service identity cards issued by employers, voter ID cards can be used at the time of registration for Covid-19 vaccination.
What precautions or preventive measures to follow at the Covid-19 vaccination site?
It is advised that the person who is vaccinated should take rest for 30 minutes after the administration of vaccine. If any symptom/unease develops, the nearby health workers should be informed immediately.
How many doses will be given and at what interval?
Two doses of the vaccine will have to be taken 28 days apart and protective levels of antibodies generally would develop two weeks after the second dose. After all doses of the vaccine are administered, a QR-code based certificate will also be sent to the mobile number of the beneficiary. If you feel any symptoms, any discomfort, please contact the nearest authorities like ANM, ASHA workers so that they can attend to the problem.
Feature Image Credit: Google