- The author of this article is Dr Subrata Das, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine & Diabetology, Sakra World Hospital, Bengaluru
Have you been vaccinated for Covid-19 or are you still not convinced about the efficacy of vaccines available? Globally, almost 198 countries have initiated the process of vaccination against COVID-19, out of which in India, 5.7% of the total population have been fully vaccinated while 22.9% have received at least one dose of the vaccine. For most of the population, availability of information in abundance regarding vaccines, its effectiveness against the variants of COVID-19 from reliable sources such as WHO, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and not so reliable sources are the biggest drivers behind deciding on whether to get vaccinated or not. In such a scenario, it is important to understand and have a clear idea on how vaccines work and why is it a necessity at the moment?
How does covid-19 vaccines work?
In India, we are currently using two nationally manufactured vaccines, namely Covaxin and Covishield, both of which are administered in two doses. Once the vaccine is administered, it helps the body build immunity against the infection without making the host sick by artificially creating antibodies inside the body. The first dose helps the body create an immune response, while the second dose is a booster that strengthens your immunity to the virus. Once both the doses are completed, the immune system produces enough antibodies to protect, defend from the infection. However, post-vaccination, it is advisable for everyone to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and avoiding crowds. Follow the guidelines and covid appropriate behaviour.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective
Ideally, everyone should be vaccinated. The vaccination drive in India has been initiated in phases focusing on different age groups. The vaccines have been developed to protect against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, using science that has been around for decades, and not on an experimental basis. Manufacturers have carried out all the required stages of clinical trials and have conducted extensive testing and monitoring. COVID-19 vaccines are found to be effective in keeping you from getting seriously ill even if you test positive COVID-19, help you avoid hospitalization and even in some cases, probable death. There are many data that support this. Over the past months, lakhs of people have been safely vaccinated in India. The vaccines are carefully monitored for safety concerns and side effects.
Herd immunity can be achieved through COVID-19 vaccination
Herd immunity refers to a state when most of the people in a population become immune to the infection, which can be achieved if more than 70 percent of the population is vaccinated. COVID-19 is still a threat to people who are not yet vaccinated. Regardless of whether you have or do not have covid, it is wise to get vaccinated at the earliest with available vaccines (Covaxin, Covishield, Moderna, Sputnik V, etc.) Moreover, now, people have the liberty to opt for a vaccine on the basis of its availability at the hospital or certified vaccination centres. When herd immunity is achieved, it provides indirect protection to those who are not immune to the disease. The higher the level of immunity, the larger the benefit.
Refrain from rumours and social media
Reluctancy towards vaccination has been on the rise owing to factors such as rumours circulated on various social media platforms like the risk factors of the vaccine and how vaccinated people still get infected with covid. Because of this, majority of the population are still not vaccinated. It should be noted that serious side effects are not common in covid vaccines. However, some may experience local reactions at the injection site and systemic side effects, such as fever, headache, malaise, chills, etc which are often short-lived.
Vaccination to prevent future wave
Vaccination coverage is one of the factors that can determine the timing and magnitude of future third wave in India. So, VACCINATION is the only way to prevent this wave. Indian Government and local governing bodies are organising vaccination drives to help achieve the target of mass vaccination. Therefore, without further delay, get your appointment and get vaccinated.