Vaccination is becoming increasingly vital to curb the spread of the coronavirus and the subsequent COVID-19 waves. Keeping in mind the welfare of the people, several states have decided to vaccinate their population against the surging COVID-19 pandemic free. While more and more people are getting vaccinated, many also have questions about the vaccination process and what to expect when it comes to their turn.

In conversation with TC46, General Physician Dr Pradip Shah of Fortis Hospital, Mumbai explains how to make the process of getting vaccination safe and simple. Here, he talks about the registration process, basic guidelines at the vaccination centres and some vital dos and don’ts.

1.What is the registration procedure and what documents will be required now that the centres are open to everyone above the age of 18?

Step 1: All vaccination (through Govt. of India and Other than Govt. of India channel) would be part of the National Vaccination Programme and mandated to follow all protocols such as being captured on CoWIN platform, linked to AEFI reporting, and all other prescribed norms. Therefore, registration will be done through the CoWIN App or the Arogya Setu App. 

Step 2: Once the registration is complete, the beneficiary will receive SMS on his/ her registered cellphone number.

  1. The first SMS will confirm the registration of the beneficiary
  2. The second SMS will consist of the date, time, and place where the particular beneficiary will get his/her vaccination
  3. The third SMS will be generated after the beneficiary will receive the first dose of the vaccine. It will confirm the due date of the next dose
  4. The fourth SMS will confirm completion of the second dose along with a link for a digital certificate

Step 3: The government has appointed a few Vaccination Officers (VO) to help the beneficiaries go through the vaccination process with ease at the site. The VO-1 will pre-check the registration and photo ID proof of the beneficiary, and also assist in managing the queues and crowd at the site. These officers are originally policemen, home guards, civil defence personnel, NCC, NSS, or NYK members. 

Step 4: The VO-2 will cross verify and authenticate the beneficiaries’ documents on Co-WIN.

Step 5: This officer will be a healthcare practitioner who will administer the vaccine to the beneficiary.

Vaccination is the best prevention for COVID-19 and experts are urging people to get vaccinated soon. Don’t let the rumours stop you from getting vaccinated, learn the truth and stay safe.

Follows these basic for effective vaccination:

  • Schedule your appointment and stick to it
  • Accept whichever vaccine is available 
  • Keep track of any recent health conditions and medications and talk to your doctors about it
  • Visit the government website to understand the registration and following protocols
  • On the day of the vaccination, wear a short-sleeved shirt/ loose blouse to make it easier
  • Wear a mask whenever so our around sick people or venturing out
  • Patiently wait in the queue for your turn while maintaining social distancing
  • Reschedule if you have known exposure or symptoms
  • Do not post a selfie with your vaccine card
  • Save your vaccine card – digitally or in a hard copy

2. How many hours of sleep is necessary prior to the vaccination?

Get some good rest before you get your shot. This is because adequate sleep is an important factor in a strong immune system. Getting sufficient, high-quality sleep on a regular basis strengthens your body’s immune system and optimizes your response to a vaccine.

3.What medications should be avoided before taking the Covid-19 vaccine and for how long?

The effectiveness of the vaccine comes down to how well your immune system responds to it. Self-medication for fever or pain before the vaccine should be avoided. Medications for blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and other common health conditions aren’t things to be worried about. The studies for the vaccines were done with a number of people who had many of these common conditions. They respond well to the vaccines. So, don’t change any of your regular medications.

4.What are the guidelines about drinking and smoking before and after the vaccination? 

First things first, there are no dietary restrictions advised by the government along with the vaccine so far. However, vaccinations often cause mild flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, headache, and nausea. Alcohol tends to aggravate and worsen these symptoms making the experience unpleasant for those getting vaccinated.

5. Can a person having COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) infection be vaccinated?

Ideally, it best to wait for around a month or more after COVID infection to get your vaccination Jab. Follow guidelines issued by your local municipal authority.

6. Are there any preventive measures and precautions that one needs to follow at the session site? 

Follow these:

  • On the day of the vaccination, wear a short-sleeved shirt or loose blouse to make it easier
  • Wear a mask whenever so our around sick people or venturing out
  • Patiently wait in the queue for your turn while maintaining social distancing
  • Reschedule if you have known exposure or symptoms
  • Do not post a selfie with your vaccine card
  • Save your vaccine card – digitally or in a hard copy
  • Wear a mask even after you get vaccinated

7. What to do if you experience symptoms like fever body ache post-vaccine and when should you visit a doctor?

After the injection, keep the area clean and apply a clean and cool.

  • Move and exercise the arm on which you have received the jab
  • For those on blood thinners, gentle pressure will help to minimize bruising and pain
  • If there is persistent pain, you may take paracetamol or ibuprofen with advice from your physician
  • The pain and swelling will go away in a few days
  • Generalized mild reactions maybe felt like flu and may even affect your ability to do daily activities but will disappear in a few days

If you want and have the energy, try doing a few low impact exercises or an easy yoga routine. Check out the video for a simple yoga routine.

8. Does the vaccine protect against newer strains or mutated virus of SARS-CoV 2?

The available vaccine is meant to improve your immunity and help you fight any kind of COVID strain. Most vaccines have been proved to be effective against the new strains.

9. What precautions should be taken after receiving the vaccine?

Wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and eating healthy food that improves immunity is a must. Remember, the vaccines only help you to build immunity to fight COVID it won’t prevent you from contracting it. Therefore, it is advisable to be cautious and does not venture out without any emergency reasons.

10. What is the procedure for the second dose of the vaccine?

The vaccine form will not be revealed to the beneficiary at the time of the appointment, as it was in the first process. Using the same mobile number, a beneficiary will self-register themselves. 

Mentioned below are the steps:

  1. The first step is to navigate to the official website – cowin.gov.in and enter a mobile number when asked.
  2. After you have entered the mobile number, a one-time password will be sent to that number.
  3. Enter the OTP that you received to validate.
  4. Now you will have to enter a few details:
  • The name on the ID of whichever document you choose to use as an ID that you will show at the time of vaccination
  • The ID number of the document (It can be Aadhaar)
  • Enter your age
  • Enter your gender
  • Mention if you have any pre-existing co-morbidity or had any illness recently
  1. After you are done entering all this information, you will be asked to register.
  2. Now once the registration process is complete, you will receive a message informing you about the same.
  3. You will also have the option to register up to three more persons and you will have to repeat the same steps of entering the photo ID proof; ID proof number; name, age, and gender details.

11. Does the vaccine provide herd immunity? 

Herd immunity, also known as ‘population immunity’, is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached. There are two ways to achieve herd immunity: A large proportion of the population either gets infected or gets a protective vaccine. 

In the current scenario, it is best to achieve immunity through vaccination.