Amid the second wave, as the Central government opened up the Covid-19 vaccination drive to all adults, the only thing surpassing the spread of the virus is the speed at which myths around vaccination are becoming public.
According to the third phase of the Covid vaccination drive in India, all above 18 will be eligible to get a vaccine from May 1. While the Centre will continue to vaccinate the eligible citizens declared previously – i.e. frontline workers, health workers and those above the age of 45 – the rest will be able to access the vaccine by state governments and private entities at the rate of Rs 400 and Rs 600 per shot respectively.
However, a few days after the new vaccination rules were announced, a myth started spreading on social media – that menstruating individuals must not get vaccinated five days prior to their period, during their period and till five days after their period.
Amid the second wave when the India’s daily numbers have made a global record for two days in a row, a vaccination drive is being seen as a possible way to combat the virus. Even though the vaccine doesn’t assure 100% immunity to the virus, it doesn’t improve the person from entering a critical condition.
Thus, any false rumour that incites fear in people against the vaccine is a dangerous step and must be addressed immediately. In the wake of such trends, here are a few myths around vaccine we need to bust if we come across them as India prepares to launch its vaccination drive:
The myth justifies this claim by saying that menstruators are at their weakest around their period and their immunity is low. Hence, if they get vaccinated during their period, instead of building antibodies against the virus, they might end up getting attacked by the virus.
Experts have emphasised that there is no relation between the process of vaccination and menstruation. Dr Munjaal Kapadia, gynaecologist at Namaha Hospital, spoke to the Quint:
“Firstly, periods do not have any impact on the immunity of a person. You can take the vaccine even during your periods. Periods have no effect on the vaccine. One should take the vaccine at the earliest. You are not supposed to delay your vaccine just because you are on your periods.”
Doctors also clarified that taking a vaccine doesn’t reduce the immunity of a person. “The claim that the immunity of the body decreases after taking the first dose of the vaccine is absolutely wrong,”Dr Jacob T John, former head of ICMR’s Centre for Advanced Research in Virology told the Quint.
Don't fall for rumours!
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) April 24, 2021
Note: If you’re pregnant or lactating, please consult a doctor. While the union health ministry guidelines do not advise the vaccine, the Gynaecological Federation recommends the vaccine to both pregnant and lactating womxn, saying that the benefits of the vaccine to the mother and child outweigh its remote risk.
This is another myth around the vaccine doing rounds on social media. However, there have been no reports or evidence of infertility or sexual dysfunction as a proven side-effect of Covid vaccine. Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan also clarified this rumour at the launch of the vaccine drive in January and said that neither of the two vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin, have been proved to cause infertility in men or women. Only an individual already pregnant has been advised to consult a doctor first.
Many people have confused the temporary symptoms of mild fever, fatigue and nausea, among others, with getting the Covid-19 virus.
However, none of the Covid vaccines can give you Covid-19 infection as the virus used in the vaccine is not live. Once the impotent virus enters the body through the vaccine shot, the body builds immunity against it and can cause symptoms such as fever and fatigue. However, once our body builds antibodies to fight against any future exposure to the virus, the symptoms go away. This can take up to two weeks.
Note that it is possible to get infected if the virus enters the body before the vaccine has had the time to fully protect the individual.
There is no proof that people who have been infected by the virus once cannot get infected again. Once a person has been infected, the body builds immunity to fight the virus for the next few weeks, but it wears off soon. Hence, once a person has fully recovered from Covid and are off the treatment, they can get themselves vaccinated to avoid getting infected again.
However, an important point to note here is that it is not recommended to get the Covid vaccination while one is infected with the virus.
Many people believe that once they are fully vaccinated, they are 100% immune to the virus and won’t get infected. However, this is not true. While Covid vaccines are effective in lessening the chances of getting infected or getting critical when infected, vaccinated individuals canstill be Covid positive.
Another reason to continue with Covid precautions is to protect those around us. Although a vaccine is more likely to protect the vaccinated individual from getting infected, researchers still don’t know if the vaccinated can transmit the virus or not. Thus, it is better to still:
As India’s healthcare infrastructure crumbles with the rising number of cases every day and a vaccine is the only foreseeable method to eradicate the virus, not everyone has been recommended to take the vaccine. You must consult a doctor before taking the vaccine if you are: pregnant or lactating, undergoing any medication, have a history of allergic reactions or suffering from a chronic disease.
With these points in mind, come May 1 and India will be ready to partake in the third phase of its Covid vaccine drive, for which you can register using CoWIN or Aarogya Setu from April 28.