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covid 19 vaccination faqs

As soon as the national drug regulator gave approval for two vaccine candidates, Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, and Covishield, a version of the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine manufactured under license by Serum Institute of India, our country took the final step to begin vaccinating priority groups against the novel coronavirus. 

Below are some most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 Vaccination:

Available vaccines in India and their doses

COVISHIELD (Oxford/AstraZeneca)

  • No. of Doses: 2
  • Min. Age: 18
  • Gap Between Doses: 4 weeks

COVAXIN (Bharat Biotech)

  • No. of Doses: 2
  • Min. Age: 18 (revised as per order from CDSCO)
  • Gap Between Doses: 4 weeks

What percentage of people have accepted the vaccination?

Nearly 6 million (60,35,660) beneficiaries have received Covid-19 vaccine shots in India as of February second week. India became the fastest country in the world to reach the 4 million Covid-19 vaccination mark, achieving this feat in 18 days.

How to encourage employees to get the COVID-19 jab?

As much as employers can’t force staff to have the vaccine, they can certainly encourage them. This could be through providing reliable information about the vaccine, so they’re able to make an informed choice – and even to allow paid time off for vaccination appointments and/or for the symptoms developed after vaccination or by arranging sponsored vaccination campaigns for employees

When will the vaccination for the general public start?

After health care workers, vaccination is going to be rolled for the next group of the vulnerable population, i.e above 50 yrs age group and soon after that, it would be open for the rest of the population as per the union health secretary. 

What are the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can keep you from contracting the disease by creating an antibody response in your body without you having to become infected with the novel coronavirus.
  • COVID-19 vaccination will prevent you from becoming seriously ill or developing serious complications. 
  • The combination of getting vaccinated and strictly adhering to the COVID-19 safety guidelines, including wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and social distancing, will offer the best protection from the dreaded virus.

How many days would people have this immunity/How long is the vaccine effective?

Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two to four weeks after receiving the 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The duration for which immunity lasts is still an unanswered question, which will be addressed as time passes

What are the common symptoms experienced after the vaccine?

Tenderness, pain, warmth, redness, itching, swelling or bruising where the injection is given, Feeling tired (fatigue,)Chills or feeling feverish, Headache, Feeling sick (nausea), Joint pain or muscle ache, Fever, Flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough, and chills.

If there are any symptoms after the vaccination, what kind of measures can be taken?

People who develop symptoms like fever and muscle pains can take paracetamol tablets and rest until the symptoms subside. If symptoms are severe, consult a doctor so that further guidance can be given. 

Who should and should not take a vaccine?

Who can take

  • All individuals who are above 18 years of age 
  • People with chronic medical conditions like Diabetes, Hypertension, heart disease, lung, neurological or kidney diseases, HIV, or other chronic conditions.
  • People who had previous COVID -19 infection.
  • People on blood thinners (only after consultation with a doctor)

Who cannot take

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • People who are acutely ill.
  • People who recently had plasma therapy for COVID infection.
  • Just got discharged from the hospital due to severe illness.
  • People with active COVID 19 infection (Vaccination can be given at a later date to some of these groups, about 4 to 8 weeks later)
  • People who developed serious adverse reactions as confirmed by a doctor, to the first dose of the vaccine - These people should not proceed for the second dose

Do people who already had COVID-19 in the past, need to take a vaccine?

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people should take vaccines regardless of whether they already had a COVID-19 infection. 

What if someone doesn't want to take the vaccine? What are the implications for them?

Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of the COVID-19 vaccine for protecting oneself against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to close contacts including family members, friends, relatives, and co-workers.

Is the vaccine safe for people above 65 years of age, people who have asthma, high BP, diabetes, etc? 

Yes. People with one or more of these comorbid conditions are considered a high-risk category. They need to get COVID -19 vaccination.

What special precautions do you need to take before getting vaccinated?

  • There is no official guidance if there is any need for special steps to be followed before one's turn comes up. Please answer the questions that are asked before the vaccination so that if there is any reason you should not get a vaccine, like being pregnant or breastfeeding, the vaccine will be avoided. 
  • As basic measures, experts feel that people shouldn't indulge in activities that could harm their health, or put themselves at risk a day or two before their turn for vaccination. Avoiding stress, and any activities which could impair a person's immunity is not advised. Be aware and well-rested before your turn comes up.

Is there a surety that a person who took a vaccine will not contract COVID-19?

Though less likely, an individual who's been vaccinated can contract coronavirus. They're more likely to be asymptomatic.

Do's and don'ts to be followed post-vaccination

Take it easy for a couple of days. Avoid heavy physical exertion or extreme stress. If you have any chronic medical conditions, take your regular medications as you were taking before.

What are the expected vaccine cost and date of availability?

Expected start of private availability

  • Mid-March – Mid-April

Expected cost by ekincare

  • MRP/Capped Rates by Govt. (~INR 1000) + inoculation charges
  • Estimated Inoculation Charges: INR 300 – INR 500 per dose for onsite (expected as per current cap set by govt.) - home inoculation rates may vary (discounts can be looked at for multiple dependents at the same address)

How can companies contribute to the vaccination of their employees?

  • Develop vaccination education campaigns.
  • Make obtaining the vaccine as easy as possible for employees.
  • Cover any costs that might be associated with getting the vaccine.
  • Provide incentives to employees who get vaccinated.
  • Provide paid time off for employees to get the vaccine and recover from any potential side effects.

Does the vaccine need to be given in a healthcare setting only or can the employers plan the drive at office premises too?

As we vaccinate more people, with no major immediate adverse events, the Govt may pass an advisory for vaccination outside of health facilities. Once this is done, we can plan vaccination drives at the office premises.

If one from the office is not willing to take the vaccine so early, then how safe is it to allow him/her to come to the office? 

Some people may refuse to take the vaccine. These employees can be given some more time to work from home if they are vulnerable to serious infection until the COVID cases go down further in your area. These employees would be people above 50 years, who have chronic medical conditions, an employee whose spouse is pregnant, who has elderly parents or infants at home.

Can CSR funds be used for vaccination for employees?

As of now, GOI has not allowed CSR funds to be used for the vaccination of employees, but it is still under consideration.

If the vaccination is provided by the employer and employees get any side effects, is the employer responsible to treat the employee?

No. Neither ekincare nor the corporate is liable to treat the employee as every employee will have to sign a release of liability. However, with the best interests of the employees at heart, ekincare will take utmost care and effort to ensure the right treatment is made available to the employees.

How can we leverage the procurement of vaccines for our employees at the earliest? What are the registration formalities?

ekincare is working with the entire ecosystem to ensure the earliest availability of vaccinations. Please reach out to our team and we will guide you.

Are there any private Labs or nursing homes or agencies that can provide vaccination to Corporate employees?

As of now, the govt. has not allowed private consumption, but it is expected to start by March-end/early April.

You can also plan a vaccination campaign with ekincare, and take a step forward towards fighting COVID-19 at your workplace!

Read on for part 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination FAQs.

Prachi Bharadwaj is an experienced Marketing Communications Executive with a demonstrated history of working in the health tech & higher education industries.