Dr S Manoj, Senior Consultant & Interventional Cardiologist from Chennai and his 20-year-old daughter Sukrit Nanda M, a Second Year MBBS student from Madras Medical College, took their first shot of COVID-19 vaccine on January 17 and in this article, they reveal why one should keep their apprehensions behind and get inoculated.
COVID-19 Vaccine

When Edward Jenner, an English physician and scientist introduced the concept of vaccine and created one against fighting smallpox the entire world turned against him, but that was in the 17th century. And today, in 2021 when I hear similar doubts and hesitations even from the most educated regarding COVID-19 vaccine – it is just disheartening. Unfortunately, people fall prey to rumours than facts and in these times of pervasive communication, wrong information travels faster than light and if not addressed properly, can cost us dearly. 

Covid-19 infection is something that has been unprecedented in the recent medical history leaving us doctors and normal public equally baffled. As a doctor, I never thought we would witness something of this sort that brought the entire world to a standstill, made us cooped up in the houses, wrecked economies and claimed countless number of lives.

But when the news that vaccine against this deadly infection was being invented and tested in a phased manner, successful results emerging in each 1, 2, 3, stage trials, we could finally see light at the end of tunnel. As more and more news about the vaccine efficacy got revealed, the more we started heaving a sigh of relief and final nod from the regulatory authority in our country, instilled positivity in all of us again. Being a doctor, I worked at the peak of coronavirus outbreak and I witnessed my other colleagues, paramedical staff serving patients round-the-clock, even as families feared our safety back home. Despite taking all precautionary measures like using copious amounts of sanitizers, facemasks and dressed in PPE suits all the time, there were many instances of several frontline workers falling prey to this super contagious infection.

When the government announced that the vaccines against COVID-19 were finally out, after successful trials and results – we the doctors, paramedical staff and other frontline workers felt happy and relaxed. I and my daughter, Sukrit Nanda being an MBBS student were all prepared to get the shot but my daughter volunteered to do it first, as her offline classes were beginning, and the students were advised to get vaccinated. The medicos are learning about this new virus and vaccines as a part of their curriculum now.

So, on the very next day after the launch of vaccine drive, we drove her to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. There were two different premises set up for those intending to take the vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin and there were not many people around. I should say that the place was super clean, spic and span and we just walked into one premises, which happened to be administering Covishield vaccine. The staff were quite well informed about the vaccines and explained all our questions in detail. Satisfied, I requested if I can also get vaccinated being a doctor and they immediately agreed.

We both got inoculated and we were asked to wait for 30 minutes to monitor any immediate side effects and there were none, not just immediately and even today. It was a smooth experience; I went back to work the next day and my daughter started going to college. My daughter was in fact so happy and she was like, it’s time for college again after these many months. She says that almost all her classmates got vaccinated and there were no major side effects.

In fact, these days we are often asked by patients if they should get vaccinated and we tell them – of course, they should without fail. While few people report about milder complaints like chills, low grade fever and body aches, most of them are complaining of any.

Always be mindful that we are not new to vaccines and everyone of us would have had at least one vaccine in our lifetime so far - be it tetanus, chickenpox, hepatitis etc. Appreciate the advent of medical advancements at hand, brainy researchers racing against time for saving the mankind and applaud the efforts of Indian scientists, researchers and doctors.

In other words, faith in our medical advancements, researchers and the amazing results should be larger than fear. I and my daughter, would be taking the second round of vaccine after completion of 28 days and can walk around fearlessly, holding our heads high up.

Currently, pregnant women, lactating mothers, people who earlier had severe allergic reactions to any other vaccines cannot take vaccine. There is no vaccine available for those below the age of 16  years, but efforts are on to come up with a vaccine for children and teenagers.

Points To Be Noted:

  • Special precautions are needed for the patients with a history of any bleeding or coagulation disorder.
  • If you are on immunosuppressants, talk to your consultant before getting vaccinated.
  • If you are on blood thinners, apply prolonged pressure of at least 5 minutes at the site of injection to reduce bruising.
  • Patients currently undergoing treatment for cancer are advised to talk to their doctors.
Do not fear milder side effects like fever, rash at the site of injection, body ache and chills. If symptoms persist and become severe, see your consultant for an advice. However, relax! Some amount of side effects is usually common.