Is it Mandatory to Take Covid-19 Vaccine? Health Ministry Releases FAQs On Approved Vaccines

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The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday approved Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.

With India gearing up to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine, the Union Health Ministry has released a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the vaccines. Through the FAQs the government gave answers to several queries of the citizens with regards to the vaccine, its side-effects and who will be administered the vaccine on a priority basis.

Following are the set of FAQs released by the Health Ministry

[q]Is a COVID-19 vaccine scheduled anytime soon?[/q]

[ans]Government has identified high-risk groups to be vaccinated on priority. • The first group includes healthcare and frontline workers, • The second group will be persons over 50 years and persons with co-morbid conditions • Subsequently, the vaccine will be made available to all others in need.[/ans]

[q]Is it mandatory to take the vaccine?[/q]

• [ans]Vaccination for Covid-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of Covid-19 vaccine for protecting self against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to the close contacts including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers.[/ans]

[q]Is it necessary for a COVID-19 recovered person to take the vaccine? [/q] • [ans]Yes, it is advisable to receive complete schedule of Covid vaccine irrespective of past history of infection with COVID-19 as it will help in developing a strong immune response.[/ans]

[q]Can a person presently having Covid-19 (confirmed or suspected) infection be vaccinated?[/q]

• [ans] Infected individuals should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptoms resolution as they may increase the risk of spreading the virus to others at the vaccination site.[/ans]

[q]Will the vaccine introduced in India be as effective as the ones introduced in other countries?[/q]

• [ans]Yes. The Covid-19 vaccine introduced in India will be as effective as any vaccine developed by other countries as various phases of vaccine trials are undertaken to ensure its safety and efficacy.[/ans]

[q]How will I know if I am eligible for vaccination?[/q]

• [ans] Eligible beneficiaries will be informed through their registered mobile number regarding the health facility for vaccination and its scheduled time.[/ans]

[q]What documents are required for registration of eligible beneficiary?[/q]

[ans]Any of the below mentioned ID with Photo may be produced at the time of registration:

• Aadhaar/Driving Licence/Voter ID/PAN Card/Passport/Job Card/Pension document • Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Job Card • Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs • Passbooks issued by Bank/Post Office • Service ID issued to employees by Central/ State Govt./ Public Limited Companies[/ans]

[q]What about the possible side-effects from COVID-19 vaccine?[/q]

• [ans] Covid vaccine will be introduced only when the safety is proven. As is true for other vaccines, the common side effects in some individuals could be mild fever, pain, etc. at the site of injection. States have been asked to start making arrangements to deal with any Covid-19 vaccine-related side-effects.[/ans]

[q]If one is taking medicines for illnesses like Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension etc, can s/he take the COVID19 vaccine?[/q] • [ans]Yes. Persons with one or more of these comorbid conditions are considered high risk category. They need to get COVID-19 vaccination.[/ans]

[q]Will the family of healthcare providers/frontline workers also be given the vaccine?[/q]

• [ans] Due to the limited vaccine supply in the initial phase, it will be first provided to people in priority groups. In subsequent phases, the vaccine will be made available to all others in need.[/ans]

[q]How many doses of the vaccine would have to be taken by me and at what interval?[/q]

• [ans]Two doses of vaccine, 28 days apart, need to be taken by an individual to complete the vaccination schedule.[/ans]

The Serum Institute of India's Covishield vaccine, which has got approval from the country's drug regulator, will be commercially available at ₹ 1,000 per dose if the government allows sale in retail, company chief Adar Poonawalla has said.