India, Nepal and many Southeast Asia countries are now the hotspots of the Covid-19 virus as new cases are rising dramatically. Hence, the governments are making Covid-19 vaccines available and everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Here is what you need to know before and after you get vaccinated.
In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that India had accounted for nearly half of all global infections and a quarter of deaths reported in the past week.
But recently, there has been a massive increase in cases within countries around India. From Nepal in the north to Sri Lanka in the south, and countries in Southeast Asia like Thailand and Indonesia are now regarded as hotspots for the Covid-19 virus.
The situation is more critical with community transmission on a rapid rise despite the strict lockdown implemented in the country. The government is trying to avail more healthcare supplies to hospitals along with Covid-19 vaccines to combat the increase in cases and bring about community immunity.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysia said while addressing the nation since the start of the National Immunization Program:
"For the next two months, we will receive approximately 16 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. With the increase in the supply of these vaccines, the government is targeting the daily vaccination rate to reach 150,000 this month and this figure will continue to increase."
So, understanding the basics of vaccination will help you reduce anxiety and prepare for the second shot.
1. What you should do before getting a Covid vaccine
Everyone is encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible but before you get your Covid-19 vaccine, here are a few things you should do:
1. Make sure to contact your doctor if you've ever experienced a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine before or if you're currently on any medication.
2. Do some research. Learn more about the Covid-19 virus, its variants and the Vaccine you're scheduled to receive so that you'd be more comfortable during the administration and also be informed about the possible side effects. Watch useful YouTube videos that explain how vaccines work and understand why there are so many Covid-19 variants.
3. Have a nice rest. It is advisable to have a nice long rest before taking the vaccine. Just relax and ease your mind as you prepare for the day. Eat as required and get a good night's sleep.
2. What are some side effects you should be prepared for?
According to WHO, the reported side effects of COVID-19 vaccines have mostly been mild to moderate and short-lasting.
- Muscle pain
- Pain at the injection site
The chances of any of these side effects following vaccination differ according to the specific COVID-19 vaccine.
In most cases, these can be treated with rest, plenty of non-alcoholic liquids, and paracetamol/acetaminophen for the typical side effects.
Contact your care provider if the tenderness (pain) where you got the injection increases after 24 hours or the side effects do not go away within a couple of days.
If you have difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion, loss of speech or mobility, call a healthcare provider immediately.
3. What you should eat after getting vaccinated
Some people get nausea after receiving the vaccine, and though this may not happen to you, it wouldn't hurt if you get some easy-to-digest meals like vegetable soup, potatoes, rice, tacos, Indian curry.
After receiving the vaccine, there's a possibility that you might experience a loss of appetite. If that happens to you, try to take snacks and fruits frequently so you can stay healthy while not eating as much as you usually would.
Avoid taking any alcoholic drink and make sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
4. Is it possible to be positive for Covid 19 after vaccination?
The chances of you testing positive for Covid-19 after vaccination is very low but experts say it can happen. Such rare cases are called "Breakthrough Infections" and if you begin to experience symptoms consistent with Covid-19 after being fully vaccinated, you're advised to self-isolate for 10 days and contact your health care provider to inform them of your positive result.
During self-isolation, though your chances of passing it to someone else is low, you should maintain at least 2m apart from your household members.
Thankfully, due to being vaccinated, your immune system can fight the virus, so its effects will not be as severe as they'd have been if you were not vaccinated.
5. Don't forget your second shot of the vaccine
You would need 2 shots of the Covid-19 vaccine if you received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. The second shot is to ensure maximum protection and it is recommended that you get the same vaccine as your first for the second shot.
You should endeavour to get the second shot even if you experienced some side effects after the first shot. The only reason you shouldn't get a second shot is if your doctor tells you not to.
For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, you should get your second shot 3 weeks (or 21 days) after your first. If you took the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, you should get your second shot 4 weeks (or 28 days) after your first.
Your vaccination card tells you what vaccine you received and the date it was administered. Keep your card safe as you'd need to take it along for your second administration.
6. Stay safe even after vaccination
The vaccine is designed to give you protection against the Covid virus by reducing your chances of contracting the virus. So even if you've received both doses of the vaccine, make sure that you continue wearing masks and following safe hygiene practices for self-protection when in public places. You can also encourage other people who may have never been exposed or vaccinated before to get inoculated as well so we're all protected together!