Amidst this, people have several questions regarding the vaccine as well as the vaccination drive. The answers to these questions have been given by Dr. Randeep Guleria, the Director of AIIMS, according to a report in The India Express.
COVID-19 vaccine: Priority groups for vaccination drive
In order to effectively undertake the vaccination of such a vast population, the government divided the population into groups based on the urgency of vaccination requirement. As per the priority, the first group to receive vaccination would include healthcare as well as frontline workers. This would be followed by the vaccination of people who are above the age of 50 years as well as the people under 50 years of age having comorbidities.
For the vaccination, the beneficiaries who are eligible would receive messages on their registered mobile numbers containing details of the health facility which would administer the vaccine to them, along with the health schedule.
Vaccine against coronavirus: Is it mandatory?
The vaccine would be administered to those who wish to be vaccinated. However, The Indian Express report quoted Dr. Guleria as saying that taking the vaccine routine would be advisable so that people could themselves remain safe, while also protecting those around themselves.
Registration for vaccination drive
In order to be vaccinated, it is mandatory that one should register. Only registered as a beneficiary, the person will get the information regarding the health centre where he/she will be vaccinated and the health schedule. For the registration, an application for smartphones is also being developed.
Documents required for vaccination
For registration, a person can use various identity cards. The list includes health insurance, smart card issued by the Ministry of Labour, driving licence, MNREGA job card, PAN card, MNREGA guarantee card, official ID card issued by MPs or MLAs, passport, bank or post office passbook, voter ID card or service ID card issued to central or state government employees or employees of public limited companies.
Receipt of information regarding the vaccination
Once registered, the beneficiaries would receive an SMS on the mobile number they registered for the drive. The SMS would contain details regarding the time, date as well as the place where they would receive the vaccination shot. The beneficiary would also get a message after they have been administered a dose of the vaccine. Moreover, once a beneficiary has received all the doses of the vaccine, they would also receive a QR code certificate on their mobile number.
Preventive and precautionary measures to be followed at site
The beneficiaries must take rest for at least 30 minutes once they have received a dose of the vaccine. Moreover, in case of any discomfort or symptom, the beneficiary must inform the nearest ASHA or ANM worker.
Safety of the vaccine
The safety of the vaccine is among the biggest concerns of people, scientists, doctors and governments alike. Therefore, all the precautionary standards that were followed in the approval of other vaccines in the past would also be followed in the case of coronavirus vaccine.
Efficacy of vaccines introduced in India
The vaccines that have been introduced in India would be equally as effective as those developed in other nations, Dr. Guleria asserted.
Choosing of vaccinations for approval
Dr. Guleria said that the vaccinations are approved after a thorough examination of the data regarding the safety and efficacy collected during clinical trials. This means that all of the vaccines that are approved in the country are safe and effective. However, since different vaccines are not interchangeable, therefore the entire schedule must be completed using one vaccine itself.
Vaccination of an active COVID-19 infection patient
A person who has an active and symptomatic infection of COVID-19 could spread the disease among other people present at the session site. Moreover, the effectiveness of the vaccine among patients having active infection is not known. Therefore, individuals having symptomatic and active cases of coronavirus should postpone being vaccinated for a minimum of two weeks after the resolution of the symptoms.
Vaccination for recovered patients
Dr. Guleria advised that all individuals should get the complete vaccine schedule, even if they have been infected in the past, as this would make the immune response more robust.
Will people on medication for other illnesses be vaccinated?
Individuals having diseases like diabetes, cancer, hypertension among other illnesses, should undergo vaccination as those having comorbidities fall in the high-risk group. Dr. Guleria said that the medication for such illnesses would not impact the efficacy of the vaccine.
Possible side-effects of the vaccine
Vaccines could lead to some people experiencing side-effects like mild fever, body ache, or pain at the injection site among others. For this, as a part of the safe vaccine delivery mechanism, the states have been asked to make arrangements to handle any side effects related to the vaccination.
Vaccine dosage for individuals
All individuals would complete the vaccine schedule only once they have been administered two doses of the vaccine at an interval of 28 days.
Development of antibodies
The antibodies required to protect the individual against the virus would be developed generally two weeks after being administered the second dose of the vaccine.
Vaccine storage facilities in India
One of the largest immunisation drives across the globe is conducted in India, catering to as many as 29 million expecting mothers and 26 million newborns. The mechanisms of this programme are now being strengthened so that it can effectively take care of the vast population of the country.