Coronavirus has spread like wildfire yet again with new strains and symptoms. With the fear of it being air-borne now, there is no saying of when this might be behind us. We all know that right now we are in one of the History chapters in schools well ahead in 2080. How will we be when this all ends? Well, we'll have to hold on and reach the end of the chapter to see.
When the pandemic had begun, we all were concerned as to when would there be a scientific breakthrough and we will get vaccines for this unavoidable situation. In 2021, we are finally there with multiple vaccines available in India as well.
Now that the government has announced that adults between 18 to 44 years of age can get the vaccine, there are a lot of questions being asked. We are here with some important information that we all need right now to be as aware as we can be because these are not the times when we can afford to be indifferent or unaware.
Let's get to it.
FAQs About Covid-19 and the Covid Vaccine in 2021
How bad is the pandemic in India in 2021?
As of April 2021, the situation in India has worsened. While there are vaccines being administered now, there are also states which are seeing a sharp rise in the cases and also the death toll. States like Maharashtra, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh are seeing the most rise in cases and the government is taking as many measures as they can to handle the situation. It is highly essential right now to stay safe and inside your home for as long as you can.
Delhi experienced an unprecedented situation with increased cases and lack of amenities to treat patients. The dearth of oxygen tanks in the state raised more fear because of which people in Delhi need to stay more cautious than before.
Is there a nation-wide lockdown?
As of April 2021, there is no nation-wide lockdown and neither is it being discussed as a step to control the covid situation. The economic conditions in the country took a nosedive last year after the lockdown in 2020 which was unfortunate but also something which was needed at the time. Currently the State and Central government are doing everything they can to avoid facing a situation like last year's. With the ramp up in the vaccines, there is anticipation of seeing the Covid situation get controlled to some extent, if not completely.
States like Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka, amongst others, have imposed a lockdown. People with passes are exempted while others need to stay home. Food delivery, e-commerce deliveries, grocery stores and other essential amenities remain open.
What is Remdesivir?
Remdesivir is an anti-viral medication which was originally developed to treat hep-C and respiratory syncytial virus. Presently, in 2021, it is being used for treating the SARS-CoV-2 virus in hospitalized adults. Remdesivir is not a vaccine for Covid-19 and is a drug which can help patients cope with the virus better. It is not the treatment for covid but a facilitator to improve the condition of patients.
Which Covid-19 vaccines are available in India?
Currently two vaccines are licensed in India, Covishield (Serum Institute of India manufacturing AstraZeneca's vaccine) and Covaxin (Bharat Biotech Limited). Both vaccines have finished the Phase I & Phase II trials.
The Russian vaccine Sputnik V is expected to be available in India from May 1.
Can everyone get the Coronavirus vaccine?
No. People below 18 years of age are not eligible to get vaccinated, while people above 18 years of age will be eligible starting from May 1st 2021. The registration for the vaccine for adults aged 18 to 44 begins at 4 pm on 28th April, 2021.
Is it compulsory to get the vaccine?
No, getting vaccinated is a completely voluntary decision. However, for your own safety and of your near and dear ones, it is ideal to get the vaccine.
Is it compulsory to register?
In order to prevent huge crowds from gathering at the vaccination centers the government has decided to make registration compulsory for people aged 18 to 44. For people who are 45 years old and above, there are walk-ins also possible. However, it is best to register and go for the vaccination.
How do I register for the Covid-19 vaccine?
You can register through the Co-WIN Portal or you can register through the Aarogya Setu App. There are no other mobile applications which are authentic portals for registering yourself for the vaccination.
Is the vaccine free?
The vaccine was being administered free of cost at government centers and for ₹250 at private centers. However, in the fourth phase of the vaccination for individuals who are in the age group of 18 to 44, the cost will be higher at private centers while still free at the government ones.
Can I choose my own center or will I be allotted a vaccination center nearest to me?
You get to choose your own center. When you register, you will be shown a list of available centers near you. You can choose from there and then you will be shown the price of the vaccine as well. You will require a photo ID for registration which will be needed at the center as well when you go to get vaccinated.
Can I choose the vaccine that I get?
Since there is limited supply of the vaccines, you cannot choose which vaccine you get.
Which vaccine is more effective out of Covishield and Covaxin?
Both the vaccines are effective and have gone through the required clinical trials. So both of them are safe.
How long do I need to wait to get my second dose of the Covid vaccine?
For Covishield, you can get your second dose 4 - 8 weeks after your first dose, while for Covaxin, you can get your second dose 4 - 6 weeks after the first one. The second dose of the vaccine has to be of the same one as the first dose.
Is the covide vaccine safe?
Yes. The vaccines have been introduced to people only after getting clearance from the regulatory bodies.
Why are people who have been vaccinated still contracting coronavirus?
There is a small chance that you may contract the virus after being vaccinated as well but it gives you 90% safety from the virus after the second dose. If you contract the virus after being vaccinated, your symptoms would be mild and the chances of requiring hospitalization would also be reduced. Hence, getting the vaccine is important.
How long will the vaccine work for?
Experts believe the vaccine is likely to stay effective for 9 - 12 months after the second dose.
Can someone who is currently infected or was infected get the covid vaccine?
If you are Coronavirus positive currently then you can expose others to the virus, hence it is not possible to get the vaccine while you are infected. After 4 - 8 weeks of your recovery from the virus, you can get your vaccine. Even if you have been infected, it is still recommended to get the vaccine as it will boost your immunity and reduce the chance of re-infection.
What do I do if I have any side effects after the vaccine?
If you face any discomfort after the vaccine, apart from the expected response of your body, then reach out immediately to the nearest health facility and/or call the health worker whose contact number is provided to you in the SMS you received after your vaccination.
Will I get a vaccination certificate?
Yes, a COVID Vaccine Certificate (CVC) will be issued to you. You can ask for a printed copy at the vaccination center on the same day as you get the vaccine. You can download your CVC from the Co-WIN portal or the Aarogya Setu App, or through Digi-Locker. Remember to use the same mobile number which was used at the time of registration.
Will Coronavirus go away in 2021?
While the coronavirus situation does not seem to be under control currently, experts believe that once people build immunity, by infection and/or getting vaccinations as well, it will eventually bottle down and become like the common cold. However, it does not seem likely that this would happen in 2021 or soon.
Covid-19 has taught us the value of a lot of things. From our health, environment, work, to our relationships with people and ourselves. While the situation around us is getting worse and we are shut within our home, we urge you all to take all precautions and stay safe. Double masks have been recommended now so don't forget to wear two of your quirky face masks when you go outside and carry your hand sanitizer. While you're home, try to keep your house as clean as possible and use the best disinfectant to ensure you are always safe.
Additionally, keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass. Don't forget to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Be there for yourself and each other, emotionally and mentally. This is the time when we need each other and we hope we all get past this without losing too much.
If you have to and want to shop then do it online. Be it grocery shopping or buying unique gifts online for birthdays, anniversaries and all other important occasions like Mother's Day and even Rakshabandhan, from your home, within the safe walls.
It's time to spread happiness in whichever way you can and take care of each other.
Stay safe & keep shopping!
Update on 14/05/2021, 10:30 am
It has been 14 days since the covid vaccine was opened up for people in the age group of 18 to 44 years. Here are some quick updates on how it has been and it still is:
- A huge number of cases were reported, especially in Delhi, in these days but on 13th May 2021, the positivity rate went down in Delhi, reaching 14% which is the lowest since April 11th. Manish Sisodia, the Deputy CM of Delhi also added that the oxygen need in Delhi has dropped from 700 MT/day to 582 MT/day now.
- Lockdown in Bihar extended till 25th May.
- Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine is expected to be available in India from next week and it's production within India is expected to commence in July.
- Vaccination portals online were opened on 28th April for registration, however, booking slots has been difficult for everyone and the availability of the vaccine has been less in many areas. However, many people have been vaccinated. We urge everyone to continue trying and book a slot for their vaccine.
- Many people have opened up facilities within their homes or other spaces to provide food for the patients infected with Covid. While social media can get overpowering, it also showed the strength of people as many people are creating informative content around recovering from Covid-19 while there are many who have been spreading positivity and motivating everyone to hold on. Many people have also found help with hospital beds, oxygen and more by spreading messages through social media. So it is fair to say that there is a lot of good that can be done through social networking sites as well.