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FAQ on COVID-19 Vaccination and Adoption of Safe Injection Practices

FAQ’s on COVID-19 Vaccines: When the Corona vaccine is likely to be available? Probably the Government will get it by January middle and the private market by April.   Do we all need to take

  1. FAQ’s on COVID-19 Vaccines:
  2. When the Corona vaccine is likely to be available?

Probably the Government will get it by January middle and the private market by April.


  1. Do we all need to take it?

Yes, all should take it.


  1. Who will get it first?

It will be on priority based Healthcare workers 1st then.  Frontline workers, civil servants, police, army, politicians and their relatives will probably get it in 2nd round. People more  than 50 years of age and those with co-morbidities like diabetes, HT, transplant and chemotherapy patients will get it next. Then it will be given open access via private market to healthy adults, teenagers, children and lastly to the neonates.


  1. How will it be given?

Through public and private centres, by doctors, dentists, nurses, and trained paramedics.


  1. What is the recommended dose and schedule?

Two doses will be given in 21 days or 28 days apart, depending on vaccine used.


  1. What if I take only one dose?

One dose will give you only partial protection of 60 to 80% and will not last long enough. For complete protection you must take two doses at recommended intervals.


  1. What if I forget to take the second dose? Should I take the first again?

Just take the second dose at the earliest. No need to repeat the first dose again.


  1. Are both doses the same?

In most of the vaccines it will be the same dose given twice. However, Sputnik- V vaccine has  both doses as different vector viruses, so will be marked as dose-1 and dose-2. Oxford-AZ  vaccine may also later out come out with first dose as half dose.


  1. Do you need to take it even if you had Corona? After how many days of getting cured?

Yes. But that will be last in the priority list. You can let others take who probably need more than you. You might need it earlier if you did not develop an antibody response.


  1. Can it be administered to an individual who has received plasma as treatment for COVID-19?

The donor plasma contains anti Covid-19 antibodies and may suppress the immune response to the vaccine. As it is, those who have recovered from Covid-19 may not need the vaccine in the early phases.


  1. Can a pregnant lady or a lactating mother take the vaccine?

No company has yet tested the vaccine in pregnancy. CDC has advised against giving the  vaccine to pregnant and lactating mothers. UK authorities have advised women not to get pregnant for two months after the shot. Since the vaccines available till now are not live   vaccines, it should not cause any problem if given inadvertently.


  1. Can a diabetic patient take the vaccine?

Yes, in fact diabetes has been established as a risk factor for severe disease and all diabetic patients must get vaccinated on priority.


  1. If offered a choice of vaccines, which one should I take?

All vaccines are offering equal efficacy although local reactions may be different. Take whatever available. Think positive that at least you are being offered a vaccine ahead of others. Indian manufactured vaccines will be more suitable for our population as they are cheaper and can be kept at 2-8 degree Celsius. The mRNA vaccines require a storing temp of – 70 (Pfizer) and -20 (Moderna) which may be difficult to maintain in summer months.


  1. How many days after getting vaccine, would I develop protection?

Best protection starts 10 to 14 days after second dose. Efficacy is around 70-90% against all severity and 100% against hospitalization. Immediate aim is to prevent hospitalisation and mortality. But still wear masks and take precaution of social distance & hand hygiene till Covid cases are prevalent.


  1. Can I take my flu shot along with it on the same day?

Covid vaccine can be given along with any other vaccine. It is also not required to have a gap  of one month from any other vaccine given before.


  1. How long will the vaccine provide immunity?

It is a new virus, new technology vaccine, so we don’t know. After follow-ups of these  vaccinated population and their antibodies for a couple of years, we would be wiser. The   need for boosters and when will they be required, will be decided after these follow ups and mathematical modelling


  1. Children of what age can be vaccinated? Is the dose same as adults or lesser dose to be given?

Trials done till now have been for adults above 18 only. Now trials for children above 12 have started. Doses will be decided only after trials are done on younger children and infants.


  1. Can it be given to immunocompromised individuals?

The mRNA vaccine and inactivated vaccines are safe. AZ and Sputnik-V adenovirus vector vaccines are also safe as they are nonreplicating viral vector vaccines. Live vaccines and replicating viral vector vaccines will have to be avoided.


  1. What is Bharat Biotech, Serum, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines? are these live vaccines or replicating viral vector vaccine ?

BB Covaxin is indigenous, inactivated vaccine, It’s a live virus which is inactivated, While SII Covishield is a chimp based Adenovirus with the inactivated corona virus incorporated. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are from proteins mRNA derived vaccines.


  1. What are the side effects expected?

The side effects reported by the trial population are mostly mild Covid like symptoms like some fever and fatigue. Local injection site pain and induration is also reported. Reports of transverse myelitis and facial palsy have not been found to be related to the vaccine.Generally, all vaccines are safe. Although these vaccines have been made in record time, the testing methodology and procedures have not been compromised.


  1. I am allergic to egg. Can I take the vaccine?

Egg cell lines are not used for production of these vaccines. They can be taken safely even if you are allergic to egg.


  1. I heard that it has pig or monkey substance and I am a pure Vegetarian.

The new vaccines manufactured these days are devoid of any such products.


  1. In the past vaccines have been linked to Autism. What about these?

In 1985 there was a paper linking MMR with autism. Millions of children followed up after that have conclusively proven that there is no relationship between vaccines and autism. All vaccines are extremely safe with minimal temporary side effects.


  1. There are messages going around that mRNA from vaccine gets incorporated into the human genome and alter our genetic structure. Is that true?

mRNA vaccine carries a message to the cell to produce spike protein which induces antibody production. It does what it is directed to do. Till date there have been no adverse events reported.


  1. What is the interaction of alcohol and Covaxin Vaccine?

Excessive alcohol can reduce the immune responses to vaccines. Since Russians are known for heavy drinking, their government has advised to avoid drinking two weeks prior to first dose and 6 weeks after the second dose. The Sputnik vaccine is given as two doses 21 days apart. Occasional glass of wine or beer will not interfere with the immune response.

During Covaxin clinical trial also, the Doctor advised to refrain from alcohol for 3 days after inoculation.


  1. Soon the virus will mutate and we will need another vaccine. Should we not wait?

Till now the virus has not shown tendency to mutate like the Flu virus. Moreover, the vaccines being developed have taken this into consideration and should still work.

Studies for efficiency against mutated strains will need to be carried out e.g. in U.K and South Africa. That is why there are global trends for different geographies.


  1. What if I do not want to take the vaccine? Will it be made mandatory?

In majority of countries, it will not be mandatory. You have to choose between the new viral disease with no specific treatment and a new vaccine. Choice is yours. As initially there will    be a huge demand supply gap, by not taking a vaccine you can help others.


  1. If I fall in the category of priority list by being a senior citizen or with a co-morbid condition, how do I contact the appropriate vaccination authority?

Soon there will be a website and an app ‘CoWIN’ where you will be able to register with your relevant details.


  1. What is CoWIN?

It is the world’s first, digital, end to end, vaccine distribution and management system. It includes beneficiary registration, authentication, document verification, session allocation, AEFI reporting and certificate generation. Once the vaccine is available, it will generate a SMS informing the beneficiary. The vaccine centre itself will be managed by five people and will give maximum 100 vaccines per day. The vaccine recipient has to wait for 30 minutes before leaving the centre post-vaccination.


  1. What are the different types of Corona vaccines likely to be available for use in near future?

Covishield, by Serum Institute of India (Oxford AstraZeneca) is a non- replicating viral vector vaccine. These are viruses that have been modified to act as delivery systems that carry the        viral antigens to our immune cells. Chimpanzee adenovirus is the vector used to deliver the   corona virus antigen in the SII vaccine and human adenoviruses in Sputnik V (Russian vaccine, made in India by Dr Reddy’s lab).

Covaxin, by Bharat Biotech India Ltd is a whole cell inactivated vaccine. Most of the current vaccines being used in Pediatric immunization, are made by this technology. Since these are killed viruses, they produce immunity, but cannot cause the disease.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines from USA, consist of messenger RNA molecules. The carry the code message which induces the human cell to manufacture spike protein of the Coronavirus. These proteins are recognised by our immune system to produce antibodies.

Other Indian companies like Biological E, Cadila Healthcare and Genova are also in advanced stage of vaccine development.


  1. Can I roam around without a mask once I am vaccinated?

No, not as of now. One may do so only when the majority of the population has either got the disease or received the vaccine and there are negligible cases. This means the population has developed herd immunity.


  1. Are newer and better Covid vaccines expected in near future?

As of December 2020, more than 250 vaccines are under trial in different phases. A lot of research is underway to develop newer delivery methods also. Nasal spray vaccine is probably the most promising. A multi dose nasal spray delivery device can be very convenient and economical. It will produce local IgA antibodies and block the virus at entry itself. It will reduce nasal colonisation and thus prevent transmission of disease also.Unfortunately, since it will be a live vaccine, it will need maximum and most stringent trials and thus will take longest time to hit the market. Covid-19 is still a new disease and we are    still learning. The facts mentioned above are as of 14 December 2020. Please re-check the facts before taking a Covid vaccine shot.

No vaccine gives 100% protection. Also, a vaccinated person may not develop disease but may transmit it to others. Please continue to wear mask, observe physical distance and sanitize hands for some more time.

Stay Safe.


  1. Injection safety during Vaccination Programme

This covid vaccination program will involve administering over 30 lakh or maybe more vaccine doses over the whole of this year and next two years. It becomes imperative that Government ensure that all healthcare personnel involved in vaccine administration effort adopt safe injection practices and  government must mandate that all the vaccine are loaded    in auto disable syringes to prevent any preventable  calamity,  cross infection, spread of      diseases and to prevent reuse of these vaccine injectables by unscrupulous elements


The benefits of adopting safe injection practices must be included in all the awareness campaigns on vaccination and also be included in the media leaflets and media strategy being carried out by the government of India so that public is well aware of the in how to disable syringes being used for the injections for vaccination program and their safety

The adoption of safe Injection practices include

  1. Use of AD syringes for vaccination program
  2. Safe and proper handling of Vaccines and transportation
  3. Hand washing before and after administration
  4. Use of Face mask and PPE while administering vaccination
  5. Proper disposal of AD syringes after the process of administering the vaccine is over. This includes, proper collection, pre disinfection of needle and syringe, destruction of needle and proper disposal of disposal of needle and the syringe in correct colour bags as prescribed under BMW Rules 2017



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