We have been this pandemic for more than a year now and still, there are many Myths about COVID-19 Vaccination prevailing around. According to medical experts, vaccination is one of the most efficient public health interventions. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that immunization or vaccination shields a person from life-threatening diseases such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria and lowers the risk of spreading diseases to others. Vaccines have proven to be successful in eradicating diseases such as smallpox and polio.
Vaccines trigger the body’s own immune system to act and safeguard the individual against subsequent infections, say experts. Experts say that about 2-3 million deaths prevented every year globally with proper immunization. However, there are a lot of myths about COVID-19 Vaccination. This is leading to vaccine hesitancy or delaying/refusing to get vaccination.
Here are some of the most common Myths about COVID-19 Vaccination in India.
1. Myth: Vaccines can cause severe side-effects like autism in children and even death
Fact: This is one of the most common myths around vaccines among a lot of people. According to experts, autism has been falsely link with some vaccines MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella). But a number of studies have proved that there is no association between immunization and autism. They say that such rumors get wind because in most cases. Children diagnosed with autism around the same time as their immunization schedule. Vaccinations do not cause any fatal disease or death. Side-effects of vaccines are rare and mild that include fever or slight pain in the area.
2. Myth: Multiple vaccines increase the risk of side-effects
Fact: Experts suggest that getting multiple vaccines at one time is safe and effective and does not cause any side effects. Parents must follow the vaccine schedule prepared by the pediatrician and should not delay immunization.
3. Myth: Vaccines are not required, maintaining proper hygiene is enough to protect from viruses
Fact: Experts say that while maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation will ensure a better standard of life and reduce the risk of infection, it will not protect against such infectious diseases that can spread despite cleanliness and good living conditions. Delaying or denying vaccination will make people vulnerable to a number of infections.
4. Myth: It is better to get immunity by acquiring the infection naturally as compared to vaccination
Fact: Vaccines trigger the immune response in the body in a similar way to the response produced by natural infection, without putting the health and life of the individual at risk. The risk of getting immunity through natural infection is high and can be life-threatening.
5. Myths: Administering vaccines during pregnancy may harm mother, child or both
Fact: Experts asserted that immunization is a part of preventive medical care and is important for pregnant women to protect the health and life of both – woman and baby.
5. Myth: A baby being breastfed is protected from infections and does not need to be vaccinated
Fact: According to experts, while breastfeeding provides some protection against certain infections like viral respiratory infections, diarrhea among others, this protection is incomplete. Breastfeeding is not a substitute for vaccination against a host of viruses that a child gets exposed to every day.
6. Myths: Adults do not need to get vaccines
Fact: This is among the most common myths about COVID-19 Vaccination. Vaccines are helpful at all stages of life- right from infancy to childhood to adult life and old age. Adult vaccination is not so common in India but it really needs to become a part of our public healthcare system as adults too need protection from various deadly diseases like the human papillomavirus vaccine, hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal among others. Our senior citizens are very susceptible to pneumonia. The human papillomavirus vaccine given to prevent cervical cancer in women. Then there are also travel immunization which people should take while traveling to other countries. Like Indian citizens traveling to Africa should take the yellow fever vaccine. Similarly, vaccination against diseases like typhoid, tuberculosis taken while traveling to European countries.
How to prepare for side effects when taking the vaccine?
Among other reasons, the side effects is the deterrent for those looking to get vaccination. However, the experts are in agreement that any occurring side-effects are mild and treatable with medication. Experiencing side effects after taking the vaccine gives an indication that your immune system is responding, It an encouraging sign. Among the common side-effects are headache, body aches, fever, and pain or inflammation at the site of the injection.
Expert advises opting for paracetamol 650 mg to treat the fever while getting adequate rest and drinking enough fluids. While nausea occurs in a few, it will wear off. Any pain, redness, or swelling at the site of injection will also resolve itself. In cases of severe swelling, expert advises applying ice compression on the affected area. At the end of the day, the risk when weighed against the benefit of the vaccine is minuscule. It is clear that vaccination is the way forward.
Dos and don’ts to observe when taking the vaccine
As the national rollout of the vaccine gains momentum, medical experts believe that it is essential to adopt the necessary protocol. Needless to say, wearing a mask, social distancing and following COVID etiquette at the vaccination center is a must. If you have medical disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney issues, HIV, and so on, do take the vaccine as soon as possible as you are a high-risk group for COVID complications. Ensure that you talk to your doctor about any rare ailments you suffer and report a severe reaction or side-effect, if any, to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
Among the don’ts, it is advised for those who have tested positive in the past 60-90 days and those who have received blood plasma or monoclonal antibodies as part of their treatment to avoid getting vaccinated. It is also recommended to avoid switching brands or getting multiple vaccines at one time. Try not to consume alcohol before and after your vaccination. Also, don’t prior medicate yourself in the hopes of trying to prevent side effects such as fever and arm pain. And finally, don’t stop wearing masks and practicing social distancing after getting vaccinated.