The question on everyone's minds- if I take the COVID vaccine, is the pandemic over for me?
For now, the answer is no; even if you are fully vaccinated, you still need to be following COVID precautions. Read on to find out why.
It is still possible to be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus even if you have taken both doses of the vaccine (this applies to all vaccines, both indigenous and foreign). These are called breakthrough infections, and they occur despite the person being fully vaccinated.
You may be infected by a variant of the virus, such as the B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus.
In India, 0.13% of those who had taken both doses of Covaxin had breakthrough infections. 0.07% of those who had received Covi shield were re infected.
What does reinfection look like?
Some may develop the characteristic symptoms of COVID- shortness of breath, fever, body pain, etc. The CDC has reported that up to 27% of these reinfections are asymptomatic, and this is why you need to follow precautions after vaccination. If you become re infected and remain asymptomatic, you may pass the virus on to those who are not yet vaccinated.
The good news is that less than 1% of those with breakthrough infections require hospitalization. The rate of ICU admissions and death is even lower in these patients.
Then why should I take the vaccine?
- If you contract COVID after vaccination, the severity of the disease is far less and you will recover well.
- To prevent transmitting the virus to those who are at risk, such as the elderly and immunocompromised.
- Over time, as the population is vaccinated against COVID, the virus will eventually begin to run out of hosts that it is capable of infecting, and the rate at which cases are being found will reduce.
What precautions should I take after the vaccine?
- Continue to wear a mask.
- Practice hand hygiene; carry sanitizers, wash with soap and water frequently.
- Avoid large gatherings and crowded spaces; you may be vaccinated, but not everyone else is.
- Continue to follow local restrictions and curfews.
Does the COVID vaccine have any side effects?
- It causes mild body ache, chills, and low-grade fever in some individuals. Take paracetamol as prescribed to you at the vaccination center. This is a side effect seen with most vaccinations, not just the COVID vaccination.
- Severe adverse effects are extremely rare, and you will be observed for them at the vaccination center itself when they ask you to wait.
- The vaccine itself will not give you COVID. It is not a live virus and it cannot infect you.
- The vaccines do not contain any harmful substances that can alter your DNA or make you magnetic. These are spurious claims being circulated on social media.
Which vaccine is the most efficient? Should I wait for that vaccine?
All vaccines, either foreign or indigenous, are safe and approved by the concerned agencies. The difference in the number of breakthrough infections after these vaccines is very small. If you have booked an appointment, do not postpone it to wait for a different vaccine.