At least for India’s senior citizens, the answer to the question, “Mera number kab aayegaa?” is here. As of 1st Mar 2021, the Indian government has opened up the Covid-19 vaccination to senior citizens in the country above 60 years of age. Alongside, the vaccination is also available to people between 45 and 59 years with specifically listed comorbidities. It may be recalled that the first phase was meant for health workers and essential front-line service workers.
While there is happiness about the vaccination being available, there is also a little bit of trepidation and queries about how to go about it. Here we have compiled information from a credible source, so you could get to know how to go about it, how safe it is, and so on.
The vaccine is available in designated government and private hospitals. The complete details of these will be shown to the people once they self-register either on www.cowin.gov.in or the Aarogya Setu app. Even the date and time of the availability schedule is shown. For people who have no access to the Internet or a Smartphone, a walk-in registration facility is also available at these sites, including the empanelled private hospitals.
Additionally, the states have also been advised to identify potential target groups for vaccination proactively. So, this phase of vaccination is happening across the country in all states and should be easily available for almost all those who meet the criteria and wish to get vaccinated.
Note: It is voluntary, and there is no compulsion for anyone to get vaccinated. However, in the interest of self and the community, it is suggested to get the vaccination done unless there is specific advice from a doctor against doing so. Even those who have already contracted the virus can avail of the vaccination as there were many cases wherein people were affected for the second time. However, if you are currently infected, it has been advised to defer the vaccination until the doctor clears you to take it.
Any of the below-mentioned ID with Photo may be produced at the time of registration:
- Driving License
- Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Job Card
- Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs
- PAN Card
- Passbooks issued by Bank/Post Office
- Pension Document
- Service Identity Card issued to employees by Central/ State Govt./ Public Limited Companies
- Voter ID
Important Note: People with comorbidities will have to carry the certificate of comorbidities in the required format by a registered medical practitioner. Also, the Photo ID used for registration must be produced at the vaccination site.
Once registered, the beneficiaries will receive an SMS on their registered mobile number with the following information:
- Due date
- Time of vaccination
After receiving the first dose, another SMS will be received on the registered mobile number. Then the second dose will be scheduled (after 28 days), and once all doses are completed, a QR code certificate will be generated. The link sent to the registered mobile number to indicate the process is completed. The certificate may be downloaded by the beneficiaries from the link received by them. In case you have family members who are 45 years with the specified comorbidities, you can register up to 4 family members from the same mobile number.
Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the 2nddose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Hence, people should follow safety protocols, even after receiving both the medicine dose for quite some time.
Important note: It must be ensured that the entire vaccination schedule is completed by only one type of vaccine as different COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable.
Safety and Efficacy
All vaccines available in India have been duly tested and approved for use by all necessary regulatory bodies. They are all equally safe and effective in preventing the spread of the disease. Hence, people will be given no choice in the vaccine to be taken, even though they can choose the centre where they would like to be vaccinated. India is being known now as the world’s vaccine capital, and we have already run huge vaccination programs efficiently.
Apart from this, the government has taken the necessary steps and precautions to ensure proper storage and transport of these vaccines at the required temperature. Also, people getting vaccinated are asked to wait for half an hour at the vaccination centre for observation purposes. Apart from this, they are counselled about probable issues and when and how to report to the nearest hospital or health centre if any untoward health complications are beyond the expected ones. The common noted side effects so far in some individuals are mild fever, pain, etc., at the injection site. Many people have not experienced any side effects whatsoever also.
The vaccination is free if you opt to take it to the government centre and cost you a nominal Rs. 250 per shot if you take it at a private hospital.
Please check with your doctor for any medical queries.