As India reels under the second wave of Covid-19, there have been reports of infections after vaccination. Some people who have been vaccinated against Covid were diagnosed with the disease again.
“Vaccination is crucial to prevent Covid-19. Only 0.03 per cent-0.04 per cent of the people have contracted Covid-19 after vaccination and even they have had mild symptoms. The vaccine will not allow the virus to further replicate and it will not allow the disease to become more severe. But during that time, your RT-PCR test can be positive and you may be infectious to others so it’s important to follow Covid19 appropriate behaviour even after vaccination,” the PIB said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has mentioned, “There have been concerns about Covid-19 vaccines making people sick with Covid-19. But none of the approved vaccines contain the live virus that causes Covid-19, which means that Covid-19 vaccines cannot make you sick with Covid-19.”
“After vaccination, it usually takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. So it’s possible for a person could be infected with SARS-CoV-2 just before or after vaccination and still get sick with Covid-19. This is because the vaccine has not yet had enough time to provide protection,” the WHO said
Outlook got in touch with Dr. Harshal R Salve, Associate Professor at Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS New Delhi, and Dr. Sachin Jain, General Physician, Masina Hospital, to answer all your questions:
Can you get Covid even after vaccination?
Dr. Sachin Jain: Yes, you can get Covid after vaccination. The main reason for breakthrough cases is that vaccines are not perfect. We need to distinguish between infection and disease while talking about coronavirus vaccines. As some of the vaccines claim to protect you from the infection.
But what makes some vaccinated people more susceptible to the virus than others?
Dr. Sachin Jain: We say there could be many factors – From your immune system’s response and the virus variant you are exposed to the degree of defence roused by an infection, a vaccine will differ from person to person even between identical twins. You will never know how bad your symptoms would have been if you had not been vaccinated.
Do I have an option of choosing which vaccine I can take?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: Not really, Type of vaccines to be administered at fixed as per the site of vaccination. You have the option to choose the vaccination site depending on your convenience.
My first dose was that of Covishield, can I take a shot of Covaxin as the second dose or vice-versa?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: No, the vaccine cannot be switched for a second dose. The same vaccine has to be taken for both doses.
I tested positive for Covid-19 after taking the first vaccine dose. How long should I wait before I take the second dose of the vaccine? Or will I have to take both doses again?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: After Covid's positive status, isolation as per norms has to be completed. The second dose can be taken after a month or two.
Between the first and second doses of the vaccine, is there any particular diet I should follow?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: There is no particular diet. A balanced diet has to be continued.
I am pregnant, should I get vaccinated?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: No, currently no evidence suggests the benefit of vaccine over harm during pregnancy. Hence, it’s not recommended to take the Covid vaccine.
I have recovered from the Covid-19 infection. Do I need to get vaccinated?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: Though, natural immunity protects from all subsequent Covid viral infections. But if you are in a high-risk group such as a health care worker, front line worker, elderly, or with co-morbidity then I recommend taking vaccine after recovery from coronavirus.
Are there any side effects of vaccines? What are they? Are they normal?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: Side effects of the vaccine are very mild such as pain at the injection site, body ache, headache, and fever
I have taken the second dose of the vaccine as well. Will the immunity last forever or do I need a booster shot?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: Immunity after two doses of vaccination lasts for a substantial period. The requirement of a booster dose will depend on the stage of pandemic and the strain of predominant strain.
Do children need to get vaccinated as well?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: Current evidence available in India does not warrant vaccination among children
I am on medication for co-morbidities, do I need to stop taking the medicines before or after vaccination?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: All medication of the existing disease should be continued during Covid infection and after vaccination too.
I have taken both doses of the vaccine. Do I still need to wear a mask while stepping out?
Dr. Harshal R Salve: Covid appropriate behaviour such as using a mask, physical distancing, and maintaining indoor ventilation are a must at every point.