As we come closer to the initiation of our nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive for all above 18 years, many rumors have been floating on social networking groups and platforms. The most common among them is that “women shouldn't take Covid-19 vaccine 5 days before and after their menstrual cycle!” According to this rumor, women’s immunity levels are low during menstruation, taking vaccines during this time will be detrimental to their health.
Experts’ view on menstruation and vaccination: The ministry of health, international clinical cells and healthcare bodies have informed that there is no data linking vaccines to menstruation. Let’s first understand facts about menstruation and its connection with immunity.
Just like we don’t have to tell our heart to pump or direct our lungs to breathe, our immune system functions well without the need for us to intervene. Our immune system is designed to use a host of methods to keep us in good health and defend us from different pathogens. Similarly, menstruation is a monthly exercise in a woman’s reproductive system. The immune system in menstruating women also follows a cyclical pattern. While there is blood and tissue loss during the period, it has no impact on the immune system. However, if your bleeding is heavy, you may experience weakness and fatigue, but that again does not stop your immune system from fighting pathogens. We all need to understand that vaccination is an effort and a process to build immunity. It won’t decrease your immune response at all. Therefore, women should not be worried about their menstruation and register for their vaccination, as they become eligible.
Things to do: The first step is to register for your vaccination on the CoWIN platform and Aarogya Setu App which will be open for registration for everyone over 18 years from April 28, 2021. The documents to be provided and carried along to get the jab remain the same. Importantly, don’t head to the vaccination centre on an empty stomach, be well fed and hydrated. Moreover, for your vaccination experience to be safe, post-vaccination guidelines must be followed too. Here is what you should do:
• Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
• Consume whole grain foods
• Include greens and legumes in your diet
• If you are a non-vegetarian or have eggs, include them in your diet
• Say yes to fiber-rich food
• Consume a balanced diet
• Avoid smoking and drinking
• Have at least 8-9 hours of good sleep
At the end of day, it is important to not fall prey to rumors, call your doctor today to understand the benefits of vaccination and follow the norms.
(The author is obstetrician & gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai. Views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Outlook Magazine.)