After you are vaccinated, 10 things to know

The immunity built from the vaccine does little to stop it from transmission, warns Dr Raj Agarwal.
You may harbour the virus as a carrier, and be a source of infection to others who are less fortunate and haven’t got a chance to get vaccinated yet.

With India caught in the throes of the pandemic, the Covid vaccine rollout is a much needed relief.

The vaccine drive has been phased out in a timed manner: Initially, for all the health care workers, then for those above 60 years, then for those above 45 years with co-morbidities.

Currently in India, if you are above the age of 45, then you are eligible for a jab.

The whole country is very excited and eagerly going through the vaccination process.

While some have finished taking the first shot, some others including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have taken the second dose already.

The vaccine stimulates the immune response and produces antibodies which help fight off the infection.

One of the main objectives of the vaccine is to prevent the infected patients from deteriorating to a critical case and thus reducing mortality.

It is also believed that as the virus keeps mutating, most vaccines will be effective against the newer strains.

While vaccination will definitely help in improving your immunity, there are certain measures that still need to be followed after you have taken the shot:

1. Don’t have a false sense of security

Many people feel that once they have been vaccinated, they will not get infected and nothing can happen to them.

This false sense of security makes them take reckless actions.

These include not maintaining social distance, wearing masks, and not sanitising.

It is important to remember that it will not prevent the virus from entering the body but will only help you to fight it off, after the virus has entered the body.

2. Maintain social distance

People had become complacent about maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, for a period of time. This is one of the main causes of the fresh wave to hit us again.

If you maintain the social distance, and keep a distance of 6 feet, chances are that you will be safe.

The common myths that we need not maintain social distance from relatives, friends, and known people and that we cannot be infected by them, is one of the main reasons for the rapid rise in positive cases.

Avoiding unnecessary travel, meetings, functions continue to be important, even after vaccination.

3. Wear masks

Masks have taken the fashion industry by storm.

From a necessity to a fashion accessory, find one that best suits you, but wear one (or even two) at all times.

It is also important that you wear the mask correctly. Not on your chin, not below your nose.

Your mask must cover the nose and mouth properly.

Don’t lower your mask while talking. This increases their own risk of getting infected, immensely.

Every time you remove your mask to eat in a group like a canteen, or marriage or while taking selfies and pics, you are increasing your chances at getting infected.

Wearing masks continues to be extremely important, even after you are vaccinated.

4. Continue sanitising everything you touch

This cannot be emphasised enough. It is important to constantly sanitise your hands and surroundings.

The immunity built from the vaccine does little to stop it from transmission. It is therefore very important that you keep washing your hands, and sanitising everything that you come in contact with.

5. Ensure that you take the second dose of vaccine

After the first shot, it is important to take the second dose, because the booster dose significantly boosts the immune response and confers a much higher degree of protection.

Also, the second dose will confer immunity for a longer duration. The second dose is after 4 weeks in case of Covaxin and 6-8 weeks after Covishield.

6. Be patient

Immunity from vaccinations is not an immediate process. It takes about 2 weeks after the dose to start producing antibodies.

Don’t let your guard down. You could still be infected or you could infect others.

Be patient with your body to let the vaccine work for you.

7. Remember that you could be a carrier and infect others

While you may have built a strong immunity and not get diseased yourself, you are still risky for others.

You may harbour the virus as a carrier, and be a source of infection to others who are less fortunate and haven’t got a chance to get vaccinated yet.

8. Keep fit

The lockdown from the pandemic has resulted in a lot of lethargy seeping into people.

If you are vaccinated, there should be no excuse for you to now focus on fitness, both mental and physical.

It is pertinent that people maintain a fitness regime to help bolster overall immunity.

Eat healthy, exercise regularly, do yoga, practice meditation, read good books etc, on a daily basis.

9. Not necessary to home quarantine

After receiving both the doses of the vaccine, you may no longer need to remain in quarantine, in case you are exposed to a positive case and if you are asymptomatic.

As your body has built its immunity against the virus, you will more likely never exhibit the symptoms that are associated with the infection of Corona virus.

10. Follow the directives provided by the authorities

In the face of a new virus and ever-changing scenarios, the govt and local authorities are also making changes to their strategies, and different guidelines are being rolled as per the needs.

It is therefore important to follow these guidelines issued by the local authorities to ensure effective eradication of the virus.

So, while the addition of vaccination is a welcome measure in the fight against the Covid pandemic, it is not a panacea.

We must continue to still be vigilant in this war and continue to take all necessary measures, till we win the battle eventually.

Dr Raj Agarwal is consultant-physician and general medicine at Global Hospitals, Mumbai.

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