Covid-19 vaccination: From side effects to digital certificate, things to know before taking second dose

India has started administering 2nd dose of Covid-19 vaccine on February 13. (IE Image)

India started with administering its 2nd dose of Covid-19 vaccine to its health and front-line workers who had already received their first dose. As of Monday, over 9.5 lakh beneficiaries were administered their follow up dose. The second dose is as important as the first dose to maximise the efficacy rate of the vaccine and to be optimaly immunized.

Here’s why a beneficiary should not skip the second dose and things to know before and after taking the final dose.

Why India started the second dose of vaccination on February 13

Covid-19 immunisation drive started in India in January. The two vaccines that are being administered currently via the intramuscular route have a two-dose schedule, where each dose is separated from the other by a three to the four-week gap. February 13 completes the time gap of 28 days for the two lakh beneficiaries who received the jab on Day 1.

Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and several other states have started with their second dose already.

Why is the second dose so important

According to the vaccination guidelines by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, antibodies develop two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

A Lancet study has found that a three-month interval between the two doses of Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine should be the optimal gap between two doses to make the process more effective and for the government to immunize a larger number of people in the time period. The study further points out that the vaccine gives up to 81 per cent protection if vaccinated twice in between 12 weeks. Whereas, participants vaccinated twice in quick succession of six weeks has only 55 per cent protection against the disease.

Can there be side-effects after getting the vaccine

The side effects for the second dose can be stronger, experts opine. For the ones who did not experience any side-effect the last time and get a mild-reaction for the follow-up dose. Symptoms like chills, fatigue, fever, exhaustion for some hours or a couple of days is obvious in most cases. Such symptoms can be dealt with and only means that the vaccine is working to generate an immune reaction.

Consult a physician before taking a painkiller to get relief from the unpleasant side-effects. If taken preemptively, painkillers can interfere with the vaccine and make it ineffective. As per the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention and Indian Medical Boards, using light medication like paracetamol or acetaminophen drugs is all right

Getting other vaccines in the same time period

If you are scheduled to get other vaccines, it is best to hold on or delay your appointment. Studies to find out whether or not Covid-19 vaccines can react with other vaccines adversely is underway. Since there is no affirming data available, the best advice would be to delay other kinds of vaccinations for at least 2 weeks.

How is the second dose drive planned?

The Co-WIN portal will track the vaccination process and linking every dose to individual beneficiaries. A QR code-based certificate will be sent to the beneficiaries registered mobile number after the second dose has been administered. Every beneficiary will receive the second dose of the same vaccine.

How long will immunity take to kick-off?

Experts suggest that the body’s immunity will take 2-3 weeks before antibodies start building in. Hence beneficiaries are not recommended to take off masks and forget about all Covid-protocols immediately.

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