Can people with allergies get vaccinated? Can pregnant women and lactating women take the COVID vaccine? Does one get enough antibodies after getting vaccinated? Director of AIIMS Randeep Guleria and member NITI Aayog VK Paul answers these questions.
COVID vaccination in rural Uttarakhand. Photo: By arrangement
Nearly 240 million people in India have been vaccinated since the beginning of the vaccination campaign in January this year. The central government aims to vaccinate every Indian by this year-end.
However, there are several myths, misconceptions and lack of information regarding COVID vaccination in the country, especially in rural areas.
Can people with allergies get vaccinated? Can pregnant women and lactating mothers take COVID vaccine? Does one get enough antibodies after getting vaccinated? If having contracted coronavirus, after how many days can one get vaccinated? Can people die after taking vaccines?
NITI Aayog member VK Paul and All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Randeep Guleria have addressed these doubts. Read on and stay informed.
If someone has a significant allergy problem, then COVID vaccine should be taken only after medical advice. However, if it is only a question of minor allergies such as common cold, skin allergies, one should not hesitate to take the vaccine.
COVID vaccination is not recommended for pregnant women so far. However, the Indian government will clarify this situation in a few days, based on new scientific inputs.
Many countries have begun vaccination for pregnant women. The US FDA has given approval for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Data regarding Covaxin and Covishield will also come soon. In a few days, based on the full required data, the government may grant approval for vaccinating pregnant women in India too.
The vaccine is absolutely safe for lactating mothers. There is no need to stop or pause breastfeeding either before or after vaccination.
It is important to understand that we should not judge the efficacy of vaccines only by the amount of antibodies getting generated. Vaccines give many types of protection such as through antibodies, cell-mediated immunity and memory cells (which generate more antibodies when we get infected).
Data available till now shows clearly that the efficacy of all vaccines – whether Covaxin, Covishield or Sputnik V – are more or less equivalent. Whichever vaccine is available in your area, please go ahead and get yourself vaccinated so that you and your family are safe.
A person who caught COVID-19 can take the vaccine after three months from the day of recovery. This will help the body develop stronger immunity and the effect of the vaccine will be better.
Both the experts have dismissed the rumours about deaths post vaccination, a wrong belief in rural and remote areas, they said.