‘I got a slot’ is the new ‘I got the iPhone 12 Pro’. While many of us are still waiting for the slot, there are many questions about the vaccine that we want answers to. Thanks to the barrage of rumours flooding our phones, we decided to get a doctor on board to help us answer some questions and clarify vaccine-related myths/doubts that have been making rounds.
Dr. Agni Kumar Bose, a resident doctor at KEM Hospital, Mumbai, specialises in dermatology. Apart from fighting Covid-19 for us from the frontline, Dr. Agni is also a co-investigator with a pharmaceutical company in a randomised control drug trial.
What are the vaccines currently available in India?
At the moment, Covishield & Covaxin are widely available across most of the centres in the country. Pfizer is expected to arrive in the country in July and Moderna is expected soon too. While Sputnik has already arrived in India and has an efficacy of around 91%, people are still apprehensive about it.
While people have their choices, it is recommended that individuals take whatever vaccine is available to them.
Does exercising help in boosting immunity?
Yes, of course. Exercising is a great way to stay fit and healthy during these times. To ensure that you are safe while working out, maintain physical distance and try not to come in contact with anybody at the gym.
How can one plan their workouts before & after vaccination?
Before vaccination, one can continue doing their regular workouts and do not have to reduce the level of physical activity. However, it is important to be well-rested and completely relaxed a day before and on the day of the vaccination. After vaccination, you are likely to experience symptoms like fever, body ache, soreness in the arm. To ensure you support your body & for the vaccination to work effectively, you can skip working out for 1 - 2 days after vaccination. Ample rest is recommended and skipping a workout after vaccination will not hamper your workout goals.
Should one exercise while experiencing the side effects of the vaccine?
Exercising is not recommended. Even though the fever may not be from the infection, taking ample rest to ensure you support your immune system is recommended. After 2 - 3 days, when you workout, it is important to take it slow. Doing light aerobic exercise or Yoga can help you ease into your routine. It is better to be cautious after vaccination than to end up injured.
What should one include or exclude from their diet before and after the vaccination?
You can include oral fluids (1.5 - 2L/day) unless directed otherwise by your doctor. You can also add fibre-rich & protein-rich foods as you usually would. After vaccination, you do not particularly have to be bedridden and you can go about your usual day if your symptoms are not affecting you. Ensure you stay well hydrated and it may help prevent blood clots. If you develop any allergies, please contact your vaccination centre or your doctor immediately.
What is the reason for those contracting Covid-19 even after vaccination?
It takes about 2 weeks, after both the doses, for sufficient antibodies to develop. While the CDC USA has recommended that one can resume all pre-pandemic activities without a mask if they are fully vaccinated, it is NOT feasible in a country as densely populated as India. Even after full vaccination, it is recommended that we continue masking up as a precautionary measure.
A full vaccination does not indicate that the person is 100% protected against Covid-19 because the vaccines also have limitations like efficacy. Full vaccination in this case means that even if you get infected, the symptoms will be much milder than what you would have experienced had you not been vaccinated.
Does smoking or alcohol consumption reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine?
The people involved in the clinical trials did not smoke or consume alcohol before they received their vaccination. There is no proper study regarding the effects of smoking or alcohol consumption on the efficacy of the vaccine. However, smoking increases the tendency of your blood clotting and that is why one should not smoke before or after the vaccination.
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