Rajat Sharma

Why Covid vaccines are safe and effective

AKBOn Tuesday, I took my first dose of Covid-19 vaccine at a private clinic near my house. I will have the second dose of Covishield after 28 days. Friends and acquaintances asked me how I felt after I got the jab. Actually I did not feel anything at all, when the vaccine was injected. There was no pain, no feeling, everything was normal.

I advise all Indians above 60 years of age to go ahead and get the Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine is available free in government hospitals. There is no risk involved, nor are there any side effects. Some friends asked whether they should take the Covishield or Covaxin. I told them, both the vaccines are alright, as they are already tested and their efficacies are strong. Some asked what precautions one has to take after taking the vaccine. I told them they can lead a normal life, have a normal diet, there was nothing to worry.

I spoke to doctors about the vaccines. Most of them said, some people may get fever, as it normally happens after every child is inoculated, and this may last till 48 hours. A simple Paracetamol tablet is sufficient, if somebody feels feverish. After taking the second dose at an interval of 28 days, one has to wait for another 14 days for the antibodies to spread. In a layman’s words, one can gain the strength to counter Covid-19 virus only after 42 days. During these 42 days, one has to practise the same precautions like wearing masks, washing hands, avoiding crowded places and maintaining distance. Whether you get the Corona virus depends on the number of antibodies that are created inside your body. If you are above 60 or above 45 years with co-morbidities, do not worry, go ahead and get the vaccine.

For those still having doubts, let me state the facts. Till now, more than 2.6 crore Indians have registered for the vaccination, out of which 75 per cent were registered online. Till Tuesday, over 2.4 crore doses were administered in India, out of which 82 per cent were first doses. The vaccines were given at 22,405 centres across India, out of which 4,688 were private hospitals. There was not a single case where there was any serious side effect. On Tuesday alone, more than 20 lakh people got vaccinated, out of which nearly 17 lakh people were those who got their first dose. Out of them, more than 10 lakhs were people aged above 60 years.

There are still people in India who are refraining from getting the vaccine because of fear, rumour and doubts. Our reporters spoke to these people in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Patna, Nagpur, Bhopal, Lucknow and Chandigarh. They met people who said they doubted the efficacy of the vaccine, while some said they would prefer to take vaccine at private instead of government hospitals. Some said, they were waiting to know the effects on people who have already taken the vaccine. All such doubts are because of baseless rumours that are being circulated. Despite all such doubters, a large number of people in the age group above 60 years, are coming out, and getting themselves vaccinated.

Baseless rumours are being floated on social media that people are dying after taking vaccine, there are also rumours that the vaccines contain only water. Some state governments are also trying to politicize this issue.

On Tuesday, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma alleged that vaccination may have to be halted because the state government has hardly three days’ stocks of vaccines left. He said, out of 29 lakh doses given to his state, 22 lakhs were administered, one lakh doses were wasted, two lakh doses were given to army and only four lakh doses were left. The Health Ministry immediately countered by saying that Rajasthan was given 37,61,000 doses, and till Monday, according to updates received from the state government, only 24,28,000 doses have been used. The state government has at least 13 lakh doses to administer.

Clearly, the demand for vaccine from states is rising daily, and it is a positive indicator. Yet, people still have nagging doubts. These doubters must know that nearly two and a half crore Indians have already taken the vaccine, and they should not fear. Doctors and health workers will have to play a major role in dispelling doubts from the minds of people. Similarly, those in public life must come out and tell people that they have taken vaccines that are safe and protective. I would again appeal to all: Get yourselves vaccinated, in the interest of the nation, because this is the only method to defeat the deadly Coronavirus.

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