Busting myths about Covid vaccine

MYTH 1: Covid-19 vaccine can cause Covid infection

FACT: Covid vaccine does not cause Covid infection. Covid symptoms soon after taking the vaccine occur due exposure to virus a few days before the vaccine, but without symptoms, and the other reason is getting infected during the trip outside for vaccination.

MYTH 2: Our immunity should be developed to combat the virus instead of taking vaccine

FACT: No doubt our immunity must be developed for protecting our body from various types of infections. However, despite having good immunity people are getting severely affected with Covid infection. Vaccination for Covid definitely helps in controlling the severity of infection. As per the records, the second wave of Covid is affecting the younger and not the older population as much. This fact is indicative that those who have completed two doses of the vaccine have developed good immunity. And even if a person gets infected, the effect of the disease is milder.

MYTH 3: There is no need for vaccination if person has already suffered from Covid-19

FACT: Covid vaccination is recommended worldwide for every individual. If Covid infection has occurred, the person should wait for about three months before taking the vaccine, but vaccination is must.

MYTH 4: Covid vaccination cannot be taken during menstrual cycle

FACT: There is no restriction nor contra-indication to take the vaccine during menstrual cycle. It is safe and equally effective.

MYTH 5: Once vaccination is done, there is no need for following Covid protocols like wearing mask, hand sanitisation and social distancing

FACT: For the immunity to develop, in the normal course, it takes about a month after completion of two doses of either Covishield or Covaxin. The duration between two doses should ideally be 12 weeks, and 8-10 weeks is recommended by Government of India. Thus, after taking the first dose of vaccine it takes 3-4 months for the immunity to be well-developed. During this period it is crucial to follow all Covid protocols. We still do not have adequate literature regarding incidence of infection after 3-4 months of first dose. Hence, till further directives are received, all the Covid protocols must be followed.

MYTH 6: Covaxin is better than Covishield as it has fewer side effects

FACT: The number of doses of Covaxin given to the public are much less as compared to Covishield. In general, only 5-6% of the healthcare workers had received Covaxin, the majority 94% being Covishield, as per the survey conducted by Association of Medical Consultants recently. Hence, it appears that Covaxin produces less side-effects.

MYTH 7: The side-effects of vaccination are scary and can lead to death

FACT: There are some side-effects of vaccinations, but they do not occur in all those who are vaccinated. As per the categorisation, mild side-effects are injection site pain for a few days, body ache, weakness which goes away in a few days. In moderate category, there is fever that extends beyond 48 hours, myalgia (body ache), weakness interfering with regular work, but this can be treated with minor supportive treatment and do not require hospitalisation. Majority of the side-effects fall into these two categories. The severe side-effects are noted in only 0.1% of people who are vaccinated, which can occur in others vaccines as well.

MYTH 8: The side-effects will be more severe with the second dose

FACT: On the contrary, the side effects of the second dose of vaccine, when the same vaccine is taken (which is very important to remember), are much milder than the first dose.

MYTH 9: All other medications have to be stopped before undergoing vaccination

FACT: All medications can be continued without interruption before and even after vaccination. However, if there are pre-existing allergies to any medication, the information must be provided to the vaccination centre so that they can counter-check with the list of constituents and instructions of the vaccine.

MYTH 10: The vaccine is dangerous for those who have heart disease or cancer

FACT: People who suffer from heart disease or cancer are at much higher risk of getting infected with Covid. Hence, they should take the vaccine at the earliest. However, if there are on-going medications, it is best to consult your doctor for further guidance in this regard.

(The writer is President, Association of Medical Consultants)

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