With the COVID 19 vaccination set to begin soon, Government has released a set of Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Vaccine to clear the doubts of the public.
The government has made it clear that the vaccination will not be mandatory but recommends to get vaccinated.
The FAQ as published by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is reproduced below.
A. For the Target Group - General Public
- Question: Is a COVID vaccine scheduled anytime soon
Response: Yes, vaccine trials are under different stages of finalization. Government of India is geared to launch a vaccine for COVID 19 soon. For more information and updates visit www.mohfw.gov.in
- Question: Will COVID 19 vaccine be given to everyone simultaneously
Response: Based on the potential availability of vaccines the Government of India has selected the priority groups who will be vaccinated on priority as they are at higher risk.
The first group includes healthcare and frontline workers. The second group to receive COVID 19 vaccine will be persons over 50 years of age and persons under 50 years with comorbid conditions
- Question: Is it mandatory to take the vaccine?
Response: Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine for protecting oneself against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to the close contacts including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers.
- Question: Will the vaccine be safe as it is being tested and introduced in a short span of time?
Response: Vaccines will be introduced in the country only after the regulatory bodies clear it based on its safety and efficacy.
- Question: "Can a person presently having COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) infection be vaccinated?"
Response: Person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection may increase the risk of spreading the same to others at the vaccination site. For this reason, infected individuals should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptoms resolution.
- Question: Is it necessary for a COVID recovered person to take the vaccine?
Response: Yes, it is advisable to receive a complete schedule of COVID vaccine irrespective of history of infection with COVID-19. This will help in developing a strong immune response against the disease.
- Question: Out of the multiple vaccines available, how is one or more vaccine chosen for administration?
Response: "The safety and efficacy data from clinical trials of vaccine candidates are examined by Drug regulator of our country before granting the license for the same. Hence, all the COVID-19 vaccines that receive license will have comparable safety and efficacy. However, it must be ensured that the entire schedule of vaccination is completed by only one type of vaccine as different COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable."
- Question: "Does India have the capacity to store the COVID vaccine at a temperature of +2 to +8 degree Celsius and transport them at required temperature?"
Response: India runs one of the largest Immunization programmes in the world, catering to the vaccination needs of more than 26 million newborns and 29 million pregnant women. The programme mechanisms are being strengthened/geared up to effectively cater to the country’s large and diverse population.
- Question: Will the vaccine introduced in India be as effective as the ones introduced in other countries?
Response: Yes. The COVID 19 vaccine introduced in India will be as effective as any vaccine developed by other countries. Various phases of vaccine trials are undertaken to ensure its safety and efficacy.
- Question: "How will I know if I am eligible for vaccination?"
Response: In the initial phase, COVID 19 vaccine will be provided to the priority group- Health Care and Front-line workers.
The 50 plus age group may also begin early based on vaccine availability.
The eligible beneficiaries will be informed through their registered mobile number regarding the Health Facility where the vaccination will be provided and the scheduled time for the same. This will be done to avoid any inconvenience in registration and vaccination of beneficiaries.
- Question: "Can a person get the COVID-19 vaccine without registration with the Health Department?"
Response: No, registration of beneficiary is mandatory for vaccination for COVID 19. Only after registration the information on the session site to visit and time will be shared with the beneficiary.
- Question: What documents are required for registration of eligible beneficiary?
Response: "Any of the below-mentioned ID with Photo may be produced at the time of registration: · Driving License · 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 · PAN Card · Passbooks issued by Bank/Post Office · Passport · Pension Document · Service Identity Card issued to employees by Central/ State Govt./ Public Limited Companies · Voter ID"
- Question: Will a Photo / ID be required at the time of registration?
Response: The Photo ID produced at the time of registration must be produced and verified at the time of vaccination.
- Question: If a person is not able to produce Photo ID at the session site, whether s/he be vaccinated or not?
Response: Photo ID is a must for both registration and verification of beneficiary at session site to ensure that the intended person is vaccinated.
- Question: How will the beneficiary receive information about the due date of vaccination?
Response: Following online registration, the beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number on the due date, place and time of vaccination.
- Question: "Will vaccinated beneficiaries receive information on the status of their vaccination after completion?"
Response: "Yes. On getting a due dose of COVID 19 vaccine, the beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number. After all doses of vaccine are administered, a QR code-based certificate will also be sent to the registered mobile number of the beneficiary."
- Question: If one is taking medicines for illnesses like Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension etc, can s/he take the COVID- 19 vaccines?
Response: Yes. Persons with one or more of these comorbid conditions are considered a high-risk category. They need to get COVID -19 vaccination.
- Question: Are there any preventive measures and precautions that one needs to follow at the session site?
Response: "We request you to rest at the vaccination centre for at least half an hour after taking the COVID-19 vaccine. Inform the nearest health authorities / ANM / ASHA in case you feel any discomfort or uneasiness subsequently. Remember to continue following key COVID Appropriate Behaviours like wearing of a mask, maintaining hand sanitization and physical distance (or 6 feet or Do Gaj)."
- Question: What about the possible side-effects from COVID-19 vaccine?
Response: "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 a 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 as one of the measures towards safe vaccine delivery among masses."
- Question: How many doses of the vaccine would have to be taken by me and at what interval?
Response: Two doses of vaccine, 28 days apart, need to be taken by an individual to complete the vaccination schedule.
- Question: When would antibodies develop? After taking the first dose, after taking the second dose, or much later?
Response: Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
For the Target Group - Healthcare providers / Frontline workers
- Question: Why am I being chosen for COVID 19 vaccine?
Response: Government of India has prioritised the most at-risk/high-risk groups which will get the vaccine first. Healthcare providers have led the battle against COVID 19 from the front. The government wants you to be able to continue your work, without the fear of risk associated with the virus. Therefore, healthcare and frontline workers are among the first group of people to be vaccinated in the country.
- Question: What are the groups to be vaccinated in the first phase?
Response: "Based on the potential availability of vaccines the Government of India has selected the priority groups who will be vaccinated on priority as they are at higher risk. The first group includes healthcare workers because they are at high risk of contracting the infection and protecting them helps to sustain essential health services. The vaccination of frontline workers will help in reducing the societal and economic impact by reducing COVID- 19 mortalities. The next group to receive COVID 19 vaccine will be persons over 50 years of age and persons under 50 years with comorbid conditions because there is high mortality in this category. The reason for including more than 50 years of the age group for vaccination is that it will be able to cover 78% of persons having co-morbidities and thereby reduce mortality on account of COVID- 19."
"More than 50 years of age group is divided into two subgroups. One subgroup is 60 years and above, they will be vaccinated first. The second sub-group is between 50 to 60 years age group, they will be vaccinated after the first subgroup is covered. The vaccination may not be sequential. It can go in parallel for all beneficiaries depending on the availability of the vaccine."
- Question: Will my family members also be given the vaccine?
Response: Due to the limited vaccine supply in the initial phase, it will first be provided to people who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. In subsequent phases, the COVID 19 vaccine will be made available to all others in need of the same.
- Question: Is this vaccine safe?
Response: Yes. Safety and efficacy of vaccine will be ensured through various phases of vaccine trials and only then a vaccine will be introduced.
- Question: Does one need to follow preventive measures such as wearing a mask, hand sanitization, social distancing after receiving the COVID 19 vaccine?
Response: Even after receiving the COVID 19 vaccine, we must continue taking all precautions like use of face cover or masks, hand sanitization and maintain distancing (6 feet or Do Gaj). These behaviours must be followed both at the session site and in general.
- Question: Are there any common side- effects of this vaccine?
Response: The COVID 19 vaccine will be safe and effective but may have minor side effects like fever, pain, etc. at the injection site. These effects can happen in any vaccine.