Booking the vaccine slot
Yes, we know that the slots are always full when you log on to the Cowin website (http://cowin.gov.in/) but have patience. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Since most slots open in late evening/night, book during that time for better chances of getting a slot.
- Another tip is to search via distinct and not with pin-code. When you search with a district name, you have more options.
- Register on third party websites like www.Under45.in or Healthifyme for getting notifications on your phone when the vaccine slot is available.
- Do not worry if you are not able to get a slot at a private hospital, vaccination is also available at government centres and is equally easy and safe..
Types of vaccine
There are two vaccines available in India - Covishield and Covaxin. Both vaccines are thoroughly tested and equally good. Do not wait for a particular brand of vaccine, instead just get whatever shot is available at the earliest. Both the vaccines are given in two doses, administered 28 days apart.
Do not believe in rumours
There are many rumours and myths around Covid-19 vaccination. Let’s debunk them:
- Menstruations and vaccination: It is absolutely safe for any woman to get the Covid-19 vaccination during, before or after her periods/menstruation. If you are in pain or nausea because of periods, you may want to take some home remedies or medicine for the same after consulting your doctor, but do not skip the vaccination because of your periods.
- Food and vaccination: It is a good idea to eat something before you go for vaccination. You may have to wait a little longer at the vaccination centre, so having that energy in you from food will do you no harm. Yes, you can eat after getting vaccinated too. Eat when you feel hungry. Getting vaccinated is not linked to food or water intake. Drink water when thirsty; does not matter before or after the shot. But avoid drinking or eating at the vaccination centre so that you don't have to remove your mask.
- Taking medicine before the shot Some people may get some mild fever or feel feverish after the shot while others do not. It varies from person to person. But this does not mean that everyone should take anti-fever medicine before vaccination. Take it only if you get some fever after vaccination, not before. There is no use of pre-medication.
- People with co-morbidities/diseases such as Hypertension, Blood sugar, Thyroid etc: If anyone is taking medicines for illnesses like Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension etc, can s/he must take the Covid-19 vaccine. Such persons are actually considered a high risk category because of the comorbidity or having a disease. Getting vaccinated is a must for them.
- Pregnancy and lactation: In India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has advised pregnant and lactating women to not take the Covid-19 vaccine.
On the day of vaccination
So, you have booked the slot and now all you need to do is go and get a shot. There are few things that you may want to keep in mind:
- Double mask and face shield – Make sure you use double masks and wear a face shield before you step out of home. This is critical to protect yourself from the ongoing airborne virus infection. If you do not have a face shield, use goggles/sunglasses/specs; but these should be used in addition to a mask and not as a substitute for the mask.
- Social distancing: Maintain a distance of two meter with other people at the vaccination centre. Do not enter a crowded area and wait for the people to clear up.
- Reach early/ahead of your slot – Going earlier than your designated slot will help you avoid the crowds. If you have a 10 am slot, reach there by at least 9:30 am.
- Wear short sleeves – Wear short sleeves clothes to ensure easy access to your upper arm, shoulder area because that is the place where you will get the injection.
- Documents to carry: Do not forget to carry your ID proof (Aadhar Card), printout/screenshot of the appointment, your sanitiser, and your own pen to fill forms, if needed.
Post vaccine care
Each person reacts differently. Most people do not feel any discomfort after the vaccine, other than just a pain at the site of arm/sore arms. Some people may get mild fever/body aches/headache or a feeling of having a fever that can last 24-72 hours.
These are signs that your immune system is reacting to the vaccine and working to protect you from the diseases. For sore arms, try the exercises listed here. A mild fever/headache can be controlled with any antipyretic or analgesic medication such as paracetamol. If you have any other issues, do not self-medicate and consult your doctor immediately. Take ample rest and if the post vaccine symptoms do not go away even after three days, talk to your doctor.