India is conducting the biggest inoculation drive in the world in its fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus. In its third phase of vaccination drive which started on May 1 this year, people above 18 years of age are eligible to take the jab.

Since the COVID-19 vaccine has been made in record time, people have their own doubts, nervousness, and anxieties which is a normal thing. However, we should keep in mind that the COVID-19 vaccine is regarded as safe by public health officials, and it's important that we all do our part to end the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Remember, it's normal to have side effects like mild fever, pain at the injection site, and body ache. This is similar to the side effects that occur post some other vaccines. These are expected to subside after some time.

But we need to keep a few things in mind while going to get a vaccination. Here are some do's and don'ts that will help you from any sort of confusion and problems after getting vaccinated.

If you're due to get the vaccine but start showing symptoms or are notified that you've been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, please reschedule your appointment for some time.

Do's on vaccination

After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine shot, stay put at the vaccination centre for 30 minutes. It is to monitor any adverse event following immunisation (AEFI).

If you have any existing health issues or take prescription medications, ask your doctor if it's safe for you to get the vaccine. There are some bleeding disorders like hemophilia. Such people should take the vaccine under the supervision of their treating physician.

If the side effects persist for a longer time, contact the vaccination centre or visit the nearest health facility. Do not initiate any self-medication and treatment.

Take the second dose of the vaccine as per the schedule. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHF&W), a gap of four to six weeks has to be maintained between the two doses, if taking Covaxin, whereas, in the case of Covishield, the second dose can be taken 12-16 weeks after the first dose.

The most important of all is, continue following COVID-19 precautionary measures like wearing a mask, maintain social distancing, and practice hand hygiene.

Don'ts on vaccination

Do not lose or throw away your vaccine card. If you need a second shot, you'll have to show your provider the timestamp on your vaccine card. Additionally, public places and transportation (including airlines) may start requiring some form of COVID-19 vaccine documentation for safety. 

Missing your appointment could result in a wasted dose of the vaccine. Once the syringes are thawed, they must be used the same day or thrown away. 

Experts caution against taking medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen before getting vaccinated. Public health officials don't know how these drugs interact with the COVID-19 vaccine, and there's a chance they could make your dose less effective. 

You're not considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 until 14 days after your final dose of the vaccine. Hence you require to strictly adhere to the basic COVID-19 prevention guidelines and not flout the rules. Even after you are fully vaccinated you need to wear masks, maintain social distancing and follow hand hygiene.

If you experience symptoms after your vaccination, do not hide no matter how minor you think they are. This information helps to track side effects and monitor severe adverse events. It also helps with future vaccine development. 

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