Columbia Pacific Communities: Health and Precautionary advisory from Dr. Kanchan Sanyal on COVID-19 vaccination roll-out phase III

Do’s and Don’ts to follow

Now that the younger population is eligible for vaccine, there is a sense of overwhelming relief that their lives will be finally moving forward and hopefully out of the ‘caged’ zone.  If you’re feeling a little nervous about the whole ordeal, that’s normal and you don’t have to worry, especially if you keep these simple COVID-19 vaccine do’s and don’ts in mind.

·         Schedule your appointment and stick to it

Your state may have certain requirements for registering and scheduling your dose. Find out what is applicable to your state and fix the appointment.

Missing your appointment could result in a wasted dose of the vaccine. Once the vaccine vial is opened, it must be used on the same day or it’s wasted. So be a responsible citizen.

·         Accept whichever vaccine is available 

Avoid “vaccine shopping” and take whichever vaccine you are offered. You may have a preconceived notion that one vaccine is superior to the others, but in truth, all vaccines being used are helping us put an end to this pandemic.

·         Health conditions and medications

The advisory given by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare clearly indicates the eligibility or contraindications/ health conditions for the use of the vaccine.

You can refer to the government of India website details.

Your doctors are overworked and busy dealing with the pandemic and this simple step of checking the website yourself will give them more time to care for the sick.  

·         Wear a mask or a face covering

                Your vaccine provider will require you to wear a mask. Masks are still proven to slow the spread of COVID-19 viral particles, and you’ll be sitting relatively close to people at the vaccine centres. 

·         Wait in the clinic for 30 minutes

Most vaccine providers will require you to wait in the facility for 30 minutes after getting vaccinated to watch for any immediate and severe side effects. Even if you feel fine, please wait!

·         Wear a short-sleeved shirt/ loose blouse to make it easier

                 The shot goes in your shoulder, so wear a loose, short-sleeved garment to make it easy for the nurses or doctors to vaccinate you and for your comfort as well. 

·         Reschedule if you have known exposure or symptoms

                If you are due to get the vaccine but start showing symptoms or are notified that you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, follow the current state guidelines for quarantine and    self-isolation and reschedule your appointment.  

·         Do not post a selfie with your vaccine card

                Be proud of your COVID-19 vaccination, but showing off your vaccine card could invite scammers with your personal information.  

·         Save your vaccine card – digitally or in a hard copy

When you need the second shot, you may need to show your provider the timestamp on your vaccine card. Additionally, public places and transportation (including airlines) may start requiring  COVID-19 vaccination documentation at some time.

·         Do not get other vaccines at the same time

If you are due for any other routine vaccination, wait for 14 days between that vaccine and your COVID-19 vaccine. These recommendations are in place because we do not know yet how the COVID-19 vaccine might interact with other vaccinations.

·         Local precautions at the site of the jab

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

o   Move and exercise the arm.

o   For those on blood thinners, a gentle pressure will help to minimize bruising.

o   If there is a persistent pain, you may take a paracetamol or ibuprofen unless contradicted by your physician.

o   The pain and swelling will go away in a few days but if in doubt discuss with your physician.

o   Generalised mild reactions may feel like flu and may even affect your ability to do daily activities but will disappear in a few days.

o   These side effects are a result of the inflammation that is happening within your body. Your body reacts to the vaccine and is working to fight off the simulated infection. These symptoms show that your body is building a healthy immune response. Do not medicate for the side effects of the vaccine before taking the vaccine and take medicines only if you have symptoms (you may keep aspirin, paracetamol, ibuprofen or antihistamines at home if you want).

·         Drink plenty of fluids

             Immunity-boosting foods are recommended to assist a speedy recovery. It is advised to have foods with high water content, and with anti-inflammatory properties.  

·         Precautions for alcohol along with the vaccine

There is no evidence that alcohol reduces the formation of antibodies but refrain from alcohol for at least 48 hours before and after the vaccine. This is a universal caution for any and all vaccines. However, watching your alcohol intake in the days after getting vaccinated is for a different reason. It may increase your underlying morbidity.

              Some people may experience flu-like side effects after the vaccine and alcohol may make these symptoms unpleasant. It is also possible for someone to confuse hangover symptoms with vaccine side effects!

v  Precautions while you wait for your second shot

·         It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.

·         Ensure that your existing medical condition is well controlled

·         Use all the tools of distancing, hygiene, masking until real life data is analysed

·         Second dose in different town /city

·         Make sure you have registered the change of address and the type of vaccine given as first dose. Ensure the center is giving you the same vaccine you have received as first dose.

·         Precautions after your second dose of vaccine

v  Precautions on mingling and crowds

If you have been vaccinated you may feel free to mingle with other completely vaccinated friends. However, if you are unvaccinated, everyone should continue to wear masks. Form your vaccine bubble.

                Precautions to exposure after vaccination . If you meet a family member with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, you need not quarantine if you:

  • are fully vaccinated (i.e. ≥ 2 weeks after the second dose in a 2-dose series.
  • are within 3 months after the last dose in the series.
  • have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

These criteria may change from state to state and through time. *

Follow precautions of distancing, hand hygiene, wearing a mask and avoiding large crowds

It does sound like nothing has changed but the new data on this new virus and new vaccines is emerging every day telling us that vaccination is the only way forward to fight COVID-19 and take control of our lives and our world.

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