It is important to study and understand the enemy that we are up against. It is the only way that we can win the battle against COVID-19. After taking the COVID-19 test and getting a positive or negative result, reading and staying up to date on information regarding the virus should help in making the necessary decisions of what the next step should be.
How does the vaccine work?
When you are injected with the COVID-19 vaccine (or any vaccine), there is a supply of B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes that are left in the body. Macrophages are the white blood cells that swallow and digest the virus that has infected the body. They leave behind pieces of the virus that the B-Lymphocytes (defensive white blood cells) attack. The T-lymphocytes (another type of defensive white blood cells) attack the cells that have already been attacked in the body. Therefore, the vaccine helps load the body with the two types of defensive white blood cells to aid in building immunity against the infection as well as to fight the same infection in the future. It typically takes a few weeks to initiate the production of these lymphocytes which is why it is possible to get infected with COVID-19 just before or after taking the vaccine. The vaccine in itself can cause some of the symptoms of the virus like fever and body ache as a part of the immunity building procedure.Some vaccines like the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine will require 2 doses of the vaccine while other vaccines like the Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine only require one shot. You are considered as fully vaccinated only once it has been 2 weeks since receiving the final shot. Hence, it is recommended that even a vaccinated person should follow COVID-19 appropriate etiquette for at least 2 weeks after the final dose of the vaccine.
Why you should get the vaccine
Despite our country seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, we cannot bring our guards down quite yet. We cannot stop being precautious, stop wearing our masks and stop sanitizing our hands until at least 70% of our population is fully vaccinated. This implies a duration of 2 weeks since the receiving second of the vaccine should have elapsed. The vaccines that are currently manufactured and distributed have been through continuous testing and refining processes. Their safety levels and effectivity is consistently being measured and improved thereby, making it more fool-proof for the population to take. Taking the vaccine also helps increase the immunity of the masses. There have been discussions about whether the vaccines administered in other countries are more superior, effective and safe as compared to the ones offered in India. The truth behind this is that it is not currently possible to meet the transit requirements. These vaccines are required to be transported at striking temperatures of -70 to -80 degree Celsius without breaking the said chain which unfortunately cannot be done in India yet. Hence, the vaccines that are already available to us are safe and efficient. It is good to be aware of the reasonings, advantages and the disadvantages. On saying this, we must also be sensitive to the present situation and not doubt our modern medicine. Experts have worked relentlessly to produce a protective solution to the Coronavirus along with minimising its side effects as much as possible.
When going in to get the vaccination, it is desirable to visit a center that exercises maximum precautions and hygienic apparatus. Make sure that the nurse that is to vaccinate you has taken sanitary measures such as washing their hands, wearing PPE and sterilized gloves. Ensure that a fresh dose of the vaccine is being administered along with the clean and sterilized needle. Once the vaccine has been injected into the body, it is important to be mindful that all the instruments have been disposed of correctly. You can confirm this with the healthcare professionals. It is advised that patients wait at the center for at least 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine and book a slot to receive their second dose as well. It is normal for the newly vaccinated mass to feel feverish, body aches and other symptoms as this is proof that the immune system is functioning properly. During the 30 minute wait at the center, doctors also look out for any allergic reactions so that they can provide a dose of an anti-allergic tablet to help the aggravation to subside.
After receiving the vaccine, you must stay cautious and consistently monitor your symptoms and side effects. Until the second dose, it is necessary for you to maintain the same precautions for COVID as you are not considered as fully vaccinated until then. Wash your hands, use sanitizers when stepping out, wear an effective mask and be considerate to others. Although there is no proven theory about the COVID-19 vaccine and drinking, excessive drinking can cause the immune system to weaken. This may weaken the vaccine’s response to the body. For this reason, it is advised for people to stay away from it for at least 42 days after being vaccinated. Smokers have always been more susceptible to contracting the coronavirus as it reduces the lung capacity as well as increases the risk of contracting other respiratory related diseases. Hence, you should avoid smoking after getting the vaccine. Following COVID protocols will be needed till everybody is vaccinated, not one person. Therefore, please follow all protocols till the country is pandemic-free.