Everything you need to know about Covid-19 vaccinationDr Jhalak Sharma Gautam, chief of the National Immunisation Programme, on the most common questions about the Covid-19 shot.
Nepal is launching the second phase of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive on March 7, targeting everyone above 55, university professors, school teachers and administration staff, as well as public vehicle drivers and their assistants. As the government negotiates with the Serum Institute of India to procure an additional five million doses of Covishield vaccine that it plans to use for the second dose, there are challenges to take people into confidence and fight misinformation on social media. The Post’s Drishna Sthapit talked to Dr Jhalak Sharma Gautam, chief of the National Immunisation Programme, about the most common questions regarding the Covid-19 shot.
This interview has been condensed for clarity.
Is Covishield safe?
Covishield has been certified 100 percent safe for usage by the World Health Organisation. The vaccine has been used by millions of people in several countries too.
Where and when will the vaccine be available to people?
The second phase of vaccination is starting from March 7. People above 55 years of age are eligible to get the jab from hospitals, health centres and health posts across the country.
What are the most common side effects?
The common side effects of this vaccine are headache, pain in the injected area where the vaccine is given, body aches and fever. These side effects are seen only in some people and last for a few hours.
Why do the side effects occur?
Vaccines are a kind of antigen. When antigens enter a healthy human body, the body reacts to them and causes certain reactions. These reactions indicate the body is responding to the antigens and that the vaccine is working.
Do you need to wear a mask and maintain distance after getting the first dose?
We should wear masks, wash hands frequently and maintain physical distance even after getting vaccinated against Covid-19. It is important to continue taking precautions.
Should I get vaccinated if I have already recovered from Covid-19?
The vaccine is not given to those who have active Covid-19 infection but one should get the jab after 28 days of recovery.
Who is the vaccine not recommended for?
One should not get the jab if one is allergic to the contents of the vaccine. People under 18, pregnant women, and those with high fever or serious illness are strictly advised not to get the jab.
Who is paying for my vaccine?
The government of Nepal is providing the vaccine to the public free of cost at the moment. If a private company brings the vaccine in the future, they shall charge the public on the basis of the regulations set by the government.
When will I get the second shot?
Following the recommendations from the WHO, we have decided to give the second dose after 8 to 12 weeks of getting the first dose. The second dose for those vaccinated in the first phase (the first phase started on January 27) will be provided in the second week of April. For the ones getting the jabs in the second phase, the second dose will be provided in the first two weeks of June.