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How Effective Is The Covid-19 Vaccine? What is the experience of People Who Got The First Jab?

Vaccines, as we know, save millions and millions of lives every year. Amid the Covid pandemic, India is racing to deploy safe and effective vaccines. Getting equitable and fair access to the Covid vaccines is instrumental in bringing the pandemic to a much-awaited end. It is encouraging to see more and more people vaccinated. The government and other groups have been working hard to develop, manufacture, and deploy vaccines safely and effectively. However, what must be stressed here is that it is not the vaccine that is going to put an end to the pandemic, it is vaccination. We all need to ensure that we ourselves and all around us get vaccinated. No one is safe till the time everyone is safe.

The Vaccines in India:

Amid the second wave of Covid, vaccine production in India has been ramped up. So far, 260 million doses of the three approved vaccines- Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V, have been given. Though the government is hoping to vaccinate all the people in the country by the end of this year, we face a number of challenges, such as the drive being hobbled due to the slow pace and shortage of vaccines. Another major challenge the country faces is vaccine hesitancy. Ever since the drive began in January, only 3.5% of the total population has been vaccinated fully, whereas 15% have received only the first dose.

Must-Knows about the Vaccines:

In order to help people overcome scepticism about the vaccine, the government has been adopting various measures to educate people about the vaccine and its benefits. Here are a few things that you need to know about the vaccines:

  1. Covid-19 vaccines are safe for human use
  2. They are important for preventing the disease that can cause severe illness and even death
  3. The vaccines will greatly reduce the risk of people causing a spread of Covid
  4. Some people may experience certain side effects. This is normal and the effects go away in a few days
  5. Generally, it takes about 14 days after the vaccination for the body to build immunity. You are not fully vaccinated, until after 14 days of receiving the second dose of the vaccine
  6. Once you are fully vaccinated, you can resume your pre-covid activities, however, till the time each and everyone around you is fully vaccinated, the safety protocols are to be followed

How Effective Is The Covid-19 Vaccine?

Over the past few months, studies have shown that the covid vaccines can be very effective in preventing you from getting covid-19. Let us take a look at how effective the vaccines are:

  1. Covishield
    Made from a weakened version of a common cold virus from chimps, this vaccine prompts the body’s immunity to make antibodies and further attack the infection.

  2. Covaxine
    This vaccine is made up of killed coronaviruses, and prompt immunity to build antibodies.

  3. Sputnik V
    Developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute, Sputnik V makes use of a cold-type virus, that acts as a carrier and transports a fragment of coronavirus to the body.

  4. Moderna
    The fourth covid jab available in the country, Moderna teaches the cells in our body to make a protein that can trigger an immune response.

Let us now take a look at how these vaccines can affect us:

  1. Vaccines are safe
    Developed under decades of experience and cutting-edge science and technology, the vaccines are way past their experimental stage. The safety and efficacy of the vaccines have been proven through extensive clinical trials and monitoring.

  2. Vaccines are effective
    As discussed earlier these vaccines are effective and can certainly keep you from getting and spreading the infection. The vaccination will also help you to avoid becoming seriously ill even in case you get infected with Covid.

  3. Vaccine side-effects are normal
    Like all other vaccines, Covid-vaccines also have certain side effects. This is normal and is a sign that your body is working with the vaccine. The side effects such as headache, fatigue, soreness in the injection site etc. go away in a few days.

  4. Vaccines will help you resume your life
    Though it may still take a while more, once you complete the vaccination cycle, you would be in a much better position to resume your pre-covid life. Only when everyone around you is vaccinated, life would be normal.

  5. Vaccines will build your immunity
    Though there is still to learn about the vaccines and their efficacy, many researchers are constantly updating the evidence as well as the guidance. There are plenty of studies that confirm that vaccines are a sure way to boost your immunity, especially in people who have just recovered from Covid.

What is the experience of People Who Got The First Jab?

Describing their Covid-19 experiences, many recipients of the vaccine had their own stories to share. Sumity Sahi, a 38-year-old school teacher says, “The hospital I went to had all seats arranged strategically for the people to sit calmly and wait for their names to be called out. I was a little nervous, not just because I was going to get the first dose of the vaccine that we had all been waiting for so long now, but as there was concern about the efficacy as well as the safety of the vaccine. However, my anxiety quickly doused when I saw people much younger than me getting their jabs. I spoke to a few of them which rekindled a sense of calmness in me. Soon it was my turn to receive the vaccine, and it was over in less than two minutes. The nurse told me I had to wait for a while before I could leave the waiting area. As I sat there waiting, I felt a sense of achievement, as if I had cleared some important exam. Receiving the shot also filled me with a sense of relief as I knew that getting the vaccination is probably the only measure of defence against this deadly virus. After the waiting period, I came back home, feeling just fine. Later in the evening I felt quite tired and slept off early. The next day I felt as normal as I could be.”

Gurgaon based software engineer, Shivani Bajwa, 40, says, “Just two days after registering myself, I got a slot for getting the shot. I was totally fine before getting the jab, however, a few hours later a felt feverish. The doctor at the hospital had told me that this could happen, and so I had a Paracetamol tablet. I felt a little tired throughout the day and also had a headache. My upper arm where I got the shot felt rather heavy till the next day. Thankfully, I got the shot on a Friday and could rest over the weekend. On Monday, I was back to work as the side effects had subsided completely.”

“The registration process was not easy”, says Ashish Chatrath who is a Delhi-based financial consultant in an MNC. “I tried a number of times and when I could finally manage to get a slot, it was almost 2 hours away from my place. The injection was a little painful, but after that everything was fine. I did not get any side effects whatsoever, I am now waiting for my next jab, hoping it would be easier this time.”

Retired officer, 65-year-old Subodh Sagar from Chandigarh managed to get himself registered easily. “I got vaccinated at a private hospital very close to my house. I was impressed to see how well-managed the entire procedure was. The waiting areas before and after the shot, the vaccination area, the seating etc. were all very nicely arranged. Right from the entry to the registration and till the exit, everything went like clockwork. A while after receiving my shot, I felt a little feverish and had some headache, which went away a few hours later. I have received my second dose recently and did not experience any side effects or other discomfort. I urge people not to delay their shots, as the vaccines are completely safe. People should not hesitate from getting their doses because no one is safe till everyone is safe.”

To Sum It Up

There is absolutely no denying that vaccines are going to be the game-changers in this fight against Covid, but for the coming few months wearing masks, keeping our hands clean and sanitised, social distancing, avoiding crowds and closed spaces are measures that cannot be undermined. Being vaccinated in no way means that caution goes out of the window, rather we need to be equally careful about not just our safety but all those who are around us.

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