PharmEasy Blog

Monkeypox Vaccine: All You Need To Know

This article has been reviewed by Dr Nikita Toshi

Introduction

As monkeypox is spreading rapidly across the globe, the World Health Organisation has declared it a Global Health Emergency. While WHO has also maintained that the situation is unlikely to escalate into a pandemic, there are more than 16,000 confirmed cases in about 75 countries across the globe. India has recorded 4 cases of monkeypox too.  

Monkeypox shows symptoms similar to smallpox; however, less severe. Primarily occurring in tropical rainforests of Africa, the disease is spreading due to international travel. The self-limiting disease lasts for about 2-4 weeks and the fatality ratio is about 3-6%.

Vaccines are the best way to build the body’s defences against any unknown disease or pathogen. Read ahead to know everything about monkeypox vaccines – the availability and effectiveness. 

Vaccines

Since monkeypox is similar to smallpox, the same vaccine has been clinically proven to be about 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. If you have received the smallpox vaccination, the infection might be milder. There is no specific monkeypox vaccine available at the moment in India.

Globally available vaccines

Vaccine availability in India

Key takeaways

Conclusion

Currently, the global outbreak can affect anyone who is exposed to the virus. Prolonged close contact with infected animals, humans or their belongings can aid in the spread of infection. As the currently available vaccines are in limited supply, priority must be given to vaccinating those who are at immediate risk. Self-limiting, monkeypox causes fever, skin lesions and swollen lymph nodes. These infections often clear up in a few weeks without any medical intervention. Follow the safety measures to reduce your risk of exposure to the monkeypox virus.

References

https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/considerations-for-monkeypox-vaccination.html

https://www.vox.com/23197370/monkeypox-vaccine-questions-answered

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01587-1

https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/considerations-for-monkeypox-vaccination.html

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/monkeypox

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/amid-monkeypox-worry-what-adar-poonawala-said-on-making-vaccine-3194722

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/monkeypox-no-plans-yet-to-get-vaccine-101658770866173.html

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

Precaution Dose For 60+ With Comorbidities In Mumbai And Delhi

The third wave of COVID-19 has recently brought the Omicron variant into India. Medical professionals report that this variant is far more contagious than the previous Delta variant. Therefore, the Government of India has issued the administration of a precautionary/booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine from 10th January 2022.

PharmEasy has been actively involved with vaccinations since the first drive. Therefore once again, PharmEasy has sought to open vaccination camps in Mumbai and Delhi to support the Government’s endeavour towards securing public health. According to the governmental guidelines, people aged 60 years or more with any comorbidities can take the precaution dose with a doctor’s advice.

The third dose i.e the precaution dose of the vaccine should be the same as the previous two doses. Eg. If a person took the first two doses of Covishield, the third/precaution dose should also be of Covishield. 

Why the Precaution Dose?

Scientists have found the immunity created by the first two doses is gradually fading away in most people. This is especially true for senior citizens with co-morbidities and compromised immune systems. The third dose can amp up a person’s immunity.

The price of the covishield vaccine is as per govt norms issued for private hospitals.

Eligibility Criteria of Precaution Dose

Vaccine Available: Covishield

The list of hospitals given below are within the PharmEasy network in Delhi and Mumbai and will be hosting these vaccination camps.

Hospital NameAddressCitySlot TimeDays OperationalNavigation Link
Surana Sethia HospitalSion – Trombay Rd, Suman Nagar, Chembur, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400071Mumbai10 am to 4 pmMON-SAThttps://maps.app.goo.gl/qbMy7PXN1EWC9Nve7
Surana Hospital and Research Centre.End of, Tank Road, Shankar Lane, Orlem, Church, Malad West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400064Mumbai10 am to 4 pmMON-SAThttps://maps.app.goo.gl/geN7UZqngQoPT6EC7
MPCT HospitalC7, Budhyadev Mandir Marg, Sector 4, Sanpada, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra 400705Mumbai10 am to 4 pmMON-SAThttps://maps.app.goo.gl/WYKuL13oMorCivVR9
Apex HospitalE-22, Goswami Girdhari Lal Marg, Block E, Naraina Vihar, Naraina, New Delhi, Delhi 110028Delhi10 am to 2 pmMON-SAThttps://maps.app.goo.gl/XmK5JbBRQLkckore8

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

Covaxin vs Covishield – A Detailed Comparison – Efficacy, Side effects

The COVID-19 vaccination drive has already begun in India and many people are still unaware of how the two vaccines – Covaxin and Covishield – are different from each other.

The third phase began on April 1, in which people over the age of 18 can take life-saving shots.

Currently, the government hasn’t allowed people to decide which vaccine they want to get, but the result of the first phase clearly suggests that both the vaccines being inoculated in India are safe and effective. As of now, 41.2 crore doses have been administered. 8.55 crore people of 6.3% of the total population are fully vaccinated.

Covaxin vs Covishield – Which one is better?

Well, we have compiled all the information to give you a better understanding of the formulation and every other detail about the vaccine you are going to get to stay safe from the Coronavirus. Have a look:

Developer

Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV). Covaxin is currently trying to procure WHO approval to ease international travel woes for people who have opted for this vaccine. All the relevant documents have urgently been submitted to the officials of WHO. 

Because the Delta variant is proving to be more infectious than the other COVID variants, the makers of Covaxin have started a new study to determine the effectiveness of the third dose of Covaxin (the booster dose). The results are expected to be made public in November 2021.

Covishield has been developed by the Oxford-AstraZeneca and is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). 

Doctors are mulling over the need for a booster dose for Covishield as well, considering the fact that the elderly and people with comorbidities may not be producing the desired immunity response to the Delta variant. 

Type of Vaccine

Covaxin is an inactivated viral vaccine. This vaccine is developed with Whole-Virion Inactivated Vero Cell-derived technology. They contain inactivated viruses, which can not infect a person but still can teach the immune system to prepare a defence mechanism against the active virus.

These conventional vaccines have been in use for decades now. There are vaccines for some other diseases as well which are made using the same technology. These diseases are –

Covishield has been prepared using the viral vector platform which is a totally different technology.

A chimpanzee adenovirus – ChAdOx1 – has been modified to enable it to carry the COVID-19 spike protein into the cells of humans. Well, this cold virus is basically incapable of infecting the receiver but can very well teach the immune system to prepare a mechanism against such viruses.

The exact technology was used to prepare vaccines for viruses like Ebola.

Doses

There is no difference between the two vaccines in terms of dosage. Both of them are administered as 0.5ml in the upper arm region.

But, the dosing schedule for both vaccines however varies. The second dose of Covaxin is scheduled after 4-6 weeks after the first dose, while for Covishield vaccines it is 84 days or 12-16 weeks after the first dose.

Storage Guidelines

Both Covishield and Covaxin can be stored at 2-8 ° Centigrade, which is a household refrigerator temperature. This makes both the vaccines most suited for Indian conditions as most of the vaccines here are kept at the same temperature range.

This also makes the transportation and storage of both vaccines easier.

Efficacy

Both the vaccines have shown more than satisfactory results ever since the inoculation started in India.

The effectiveness of the Covishield vaccine is nearly 90% as per the global reports and Covaxin’s 81% according to interim 3rd phase trial results.

Side effects

After getting vaccinated, you may experience pain at the site of injection. Some people may also experience side effects such as headaches, joint pain and may feel feverish. These side effects do not persist for long and generally go within a day or two.

Approvals

Covaxin has currently been granted approval for emergency restricted use, while Covishield has been allowed for restricted use in emergency situations that can potentially prevent coronavirus infection in people aged 18 years and above.

Covaxin has begun its clinical trial in children aged above 2 years of age.

However, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) has not given a market use authorization clearance to any of the vaccines till now.

Price of the vaccines

Both the vaccines are being inoculated free of cost at government health set-ups. However, the cost of vaccines at the private hospital varies. Thus, you should always contact the hospitals for the exact cost of the vaccine.

Also Read: Is Covishield Effective Against Omicron?

Mode of administration

Both Covaxin and Covishield are intramuscular vaccines.

Age of beneficiaries

Covishield and Covaxin have been approved for people aged 18 years and above.

At PharmEasy, we wanted to extend our support to the Government of India in its COVID vaccination drive. And thus, with our ‘Go Corona Go Initiative‘, we are offering a token of appreciation to every user who has got vaccinated. Basically, we’re on the lookout for SUPERHEROES who will help make India COVID-free. For every vaccine taken by a citizen, we would be giving a flat ₹150 PharmEasy cash in the wallet to the users that can be used on their next medicine order. Click here to get it now!

Summing up the differences between Covishield and Covaxin

CovishieldCovaxin
The interval between 1st and 2nd doses is 12-16 weeks.The interval between the 2 doses is 4-6 weeks.
Efficacy after the second dose can vary from 70-90%.This vaccine can be 78-95% effective after the second dose.
People above 18 years of age can opt for this vaccine.This vaccine can be injected into people above 18 years of age.

The newest vaccine to arrive in India

In June, Drug Controller General of India gave Cipla the permission to procure the Moderna vaccine from the US. It is the first US vaccine to arrive in India. 7.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine have been offered to India. 

This vaccine uses the mRNA technology and tests have found it to be 94.1% effective. 

The latest updates on the COVID vaccine 

Also Read: Is Covaxin Effective Against Omicron?

Difference between Sputnik V and the other two vaccines

SputnikCovishield and Covaxin
Developed by Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology in association with Dr Reddy’s.Covishield is developed by the SII, Oxford University and AstraZeneca whereas Covaxin is developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR.
It is 91.6 per cent effective.Covishield can be up to 90% effective and Covaxin has been found to be 78-81% effective.
The interval between the 2 doses is likely to be 21 days.The gap between the doses of Covishiled and Covaxin are respectively 12-16 weeks and 4-6 weeks

The newest vaccine to arrive in India

In June, Drug Controller General of India gave Cipla the permission to procure the Moderna vaccine from the US. It is the first US vaccine to arrive in India. 7.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine have been offered to India. 

This vaccine uses the mRNA technology and tests have found it to be 94.1% effective. 

Are you keeping a tab on your health? Let’s find out.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

16

New Year Starts With A Jab, Vaccine For Children, Frontline Workers And Senior Citizens

Amidst alarming news of COVID-19 cases increasing in India due to the Omicron variant, there is a ray of hope in the New Year with the government rollout of vaccines for children, frontline workers and senior citizens. The new vaccination drive which is to begin from 3rd January 2022 for teens aged 15-18 years signifies that every cloud has a silver lining.

To know more about the current scenario, what the government is planning and what you should do to stay safe read the article below.

The Youth

Addressing the country on 25th December 2021, the honourable PM announced that The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the emergency use of the indigenously developed Covaxin for immunising young adults. Aside from Covaxin, ZyCoV-D developed by Zydus Cadila has also been authorised for emergency usage. However, the vaccination drive as of now will only cover children in the 15-18 years age bracket and Covaxin will be administered to them. Designed as a precautionary measure to protect the future of the Nation from the impending harm of the new variant, guardians as well responsible youths are urged to get their children and themselves registered respectively on the Co-WIN Portal.

As of now, the authorised COVID-19 vaccine for under 18 in India is slated to be only for Covaxin. 

Senior citizens & frontline workers

Frontline workers i.e., employees who have to be physically present at their jobs such as doctors, fire-fighters, policemen and other kinds of industry professionals were the first to get their jab last year when the vaccination drive started followed by senior citizens (with co-morbidities). To make sure that everyone is safe in the face of the omicron virus surge, the Government has announced and emphasised that these two groups will be once eligible for a booster vaccine dose called a precaution dose from January 10th 2022. To get the jab, registrations are required to be made on the portal once again. For safety concerns, senior citizens are advised to go ahead with the booster dose upon confirmation from their respective healthcare providers.

Eligibility for third dose, booster dose, precaution dose of Covid vaccine

  1. Healthcare workers, frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities.
  2. A minimum duration of 9 months should have passed after the second dose of covid vaccine.
  3. Senior citizens who are eligible can take their third dose after consulting with their doctor.

Omicron surge

As of reports released on 3rd January 2022, the Union Health Ministry announced that the Omicron variant cases were 1,700 in the country with an infection radius of 23 states and union territories. Delhi itself recorded 84% of new infections in the last few days. Currently, Delhi is functioning with a ‘yellow alert’ category of restriction under which educational institutions, gyms, theatres and shops involved in the trade of non-essential items are meant to stay shut until further notice.

However, as per studies conducted by doctors, the Omicron variant is said to only bring about mild infections with little requirement for oxygen concentrators and hospitalization, unlike the Delta variant.

The trend shows that those without vaccination are likely to suffer a more painful infection as opposed to those being doubled vaccinated.

Another trend being noticed is that in most cases of the infection, the individual is asymptomatic, meaning that he/she wouldn’t know that they are infected and will unknowingly spread the viral infection when in close contact with others. Keeping this fact in mind, civilians are being asked to be cautious and follow all COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. This includes limiting going out in public spaces and spending the rest of the winter season in a low key manner. As per news reports, the festive season during December was one of the main drivers behind the surge in Europe and also why COVID-19 cases are increasing in India and so now there is a necessity to salvage the situation before it goes totally out of hand.

What you should do

Conclusion

Although the Omicron variant is spreading quite fast, the good news is that India will see a surge by the end of January which means that the lifespan of this infection is going to be short-lived. In the meanwhile, it is advised that you get your children and elderly family members vaccinated and follow COVID-19 mandates at all times. Follow all safety precautions in order to save yourselves and others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection.

Disclaimer:

The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

Can You Get Your Child The COVID Vaccine Any Time Soon?

India carried out one of the largest vaccination programs in the world and is one of the leading countries when it comes to the number of people vaccinated. This is heartening news because this means we are all a little more protected from the dreaded coronavirus. 

In this context, a question that is on the mind of every parent with a very young child is, when will the COVID vaccine for children in India be available?

The need for COVID vaccine for children in India

Children are as vulnerable to COVID as adults. And very small ones might be at greater risk as they may fail to follow Covid appropriate behaviour very precisely. Schools and colleges have remained closed for many months now and it has greatly disrupted their academic routine. This situation can not possibly continue. The pandemic and the lockdown life has also greatly affected children’s psychological health. So for the sake of their safety and wellbeing, the COVID vaccine for children is ultra essential.

Why has the vaccination plan for children not been rolled out yet?

The very simple reason is that experts weren’t yet sure whether the vaccines that are being administered to adults are safe for children. And even if they are safe, what would be the dosage? Clearly, children would need smaller doses than adults. But what dosage would be effective in triggering an immense response? 

Trials have been ongoing to find out all the answers. And finally, the scientists have given the green light and COVID vaccines for children will soon hit the market.   

The latest updates regarding the COVID vaccine for children in India

The Subject Expert Committee has recommended the emergency use authorization of India’s home-grown COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin for children between 2-18 years of age. Higher authorities and officials will hold extensive talks with experts, before this COVID vaccine for children in India is rolled out.

Another vaccine that may become available in the market as early as November is ZyCoV-D developed by India’s Zydus Cadila. This vaccine has earned emergency use approval for everyone above 12 years of age. Discussions are ongoing to decide whether this vaccine should also be made available to children below 12 years of age. ZyCoV-D is a unique 3-dose, a needle-free vaccine for COVID-19.

Also Read: Omicron Variant & Vaccine Efficacy

What can you do in the meantime?

Until the COVID vaccine for children in India is available and your child gets vaccinated, make sure that you limit their exposure to the virus. They need to wear masks at all times whenever they go out of the house. Sanitization of hands is vital. Make sure their outside clothes and bags are disinfected properly. And the adults of the household should be vaccinated and must also follow the above-mentioned COVID protocol.

Also Read: Omicron Variant Latest News & Updates

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

Reality Check! Will The COVID-19 Pandemic Enter The Endemic Stage In 2022?

We all have understood that COVID-19 is here to stay and we will have to make our peace with this fact. Similar to Influenza, some experts opine that SARS CoV-2 may also enter the endemic stage. What does this really mean and how is our behaviour significant at this time? Let’s find out.

 What does endemic mean?

The endemic stage stands for a time when a population learns to live with a particular virus. The region where the virus has entered the endemic stage may keep observing small flare-ups of the spread but those would not be big enough to spread beyond the boundaries of that particular region. Moreover, the spread also does not become as overwhelming as it was during the pandemic or epidemic stages.

What are the experts most concerned about?

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the US President, Dr Anthony Fauci believes that the world would start seeing a decline in the number of cases in the coming spring, while Moderna’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel claims that the pandemic would be over within next one year.

Some experts believe that the cases of COVID-19 are going to see a steady decline in the winter season

The only challenge in the way of the virus entering the endemic stage is ‘human behaviour’, claimed the experts. One of the biggest reasons behind the second wave of infection was the careless attitude of people around the world who believed that the worst was over. Expressing the same concern, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said, “We are battling with one another and not battling with the common foe, which is the virus itself.”

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also claimed that the pandemic is still far from over and it totally depends upon the countries to use the available tools effectively to decide when it finally comes to an end.

Can we be optimistic?

Optimism is totally justified, given people understand their responsibility. Experts have claimed that it is quite natural to be optimistic and believe that the pandemic would end in the next year, but it is important to understand that controlling it would require a global solution.

Learnings from past experiences of pandemics like that of Flu give us some idea of how this pandemic can proceed towards endemicity, but nothing can be assured at this point of time till further studies affirm this. 

Role of immunity in ending the pandemic

According to the experts, immunization has a major role to play when talking about COVID-19 cases. We need to encourage more and more people to get vaccinated.

Some experts have also claimed that an optional booster dose of vaccine may help the high-risk population from getting severe symptoms due to COVID infection. Challenges in the way of COVID-19 entering the endemic stage. Vaccination is the most effective way of containing the spread of the virus, vaccine hesitancy, especially among children, is the biggest roadblock in the way of the virus getting into the endemic stage.

The experts have advised people to get vaccinated on priority as this is the safest way possible to try and make a place COVID-19-free. With the belief that the virus is going to remain in circulation even after a year, we need to be alert to combat every situation.

Studies and research are still going on and no one can actually state what’s going to come next. The virus has surprised us in the part and there is no guarantee it would not do it again, so dropping the guard against the virus may not be a good idea. Social distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory etiquettes, wearing a mask and avoiding crowded places should remain the norms of conducting ourselves in future too.  

Also Read: Omicron Variant: Risks & Safety Precautions

Takeaway

The health experts around the world are convinced that the COVID-19 pandemic is bound to enter the endemic stage sometime in the next year, but it is up to us how we conduct ourselves during the period to expedite the process.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation

1

Has COVID-19 been bigger trouble for HIV patients? Read to know

COVID-19 has been a pandemic everyone of us just wants to be over and forget these horrifying couple of years once and for all. It has not been an easy situation to handle for any of us ever since it first appeared in central China back in December 2019. It, however, has been even tougher for certain people who have a weaker immune system.

Many studies have proven that COVID-19 is even deadlier for those whose immune system isn’t up to the mark or are suffering from a condition that compromises their immune system.

It would not be wrong to say that people who are already suffering from Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) have been the most troubled lot amongst the people susceptible of getting severe symptoms and hospitalisation due to the respiratory infection.

What did the experts anticipate?

Ever since the coronavirus started spreading across the globe, the healthcare community was worried that it was going to severely affect HIV patients and those with a compromised immune system.

The anticipation was not wrong as the weaker immune system of HIV patients might not have played a role in making them more prone to get infected but it most certainly increased the chances of a more severe case of COVID-19, once the virus was contracted.

Lauren K. Barbera, from the University of Colorado and her teammates, in a review article published in HIV Research and Clinical Practice, have claimed that the recent studies have proven that people with HIV (PWH) are at a bigger risk of suffering from a severe disease on contracting COVID-19, even if they have fairly controlled HIV infection.

The review paper submitted by Barbera and her colleagues had combined a total of 212 articles published on the subject from March 2020 to July 2021.

What do the studies suggest?

A real extensive study, conducted on over three million patients in South Africa, suggests that HIV patients have a two-fold bigger risk of COVID-19 death, irrespective of CD4 count or HIV viral load. Some other studies have also suggested similar outcomes for HIV patients.

In yet another shocking stat, people living with HIV, who are about 0.7 percent of the world’s population, accounted for about 0.5 to 1.5 percent of COVID-19 cases around the globe.

The correlation between COVID-19 and HIV

Discussed below are some facts giving a more clear picture of the correlation between COVID-19 and HIV. Have a look:

Presenting similar symptoms

Fever, shortness of breath, cough and cold are some of the most common symptoms of COVID-19. Other symptoms may include muscle pain, loss of smell and taste and headaches.

The authors of the study, conducted on 286 people with HIV, have found that they noticed similar symptoms in them too. People with HIV should consult their doctor even if they notice the slightest discomfort or any of the above-mentioned symptoms. 

More chances of a severe case

The review also claimed that a lot of studies and case reports suggest that people suffering from HIV, who contract COVID-19 infection, are more susceptible to be severely ill or get admitted to ICU than the people who do not have HIV. 

The reviewers also claimed that the mortality rate due to COVID-19 is also higher among HIV patients. The study quoted in the review to support the mortality rate is based on a study conducted in the United Kingdom that proved it to be true. The number of deaths reported in the study, however, was relatively low. 

More impact on mental health

As we all know, social distancing, quarantining and self-isolation due to COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the mental health of people in the recent past. According to Barbara and her teammates, the studies have found the impact to be even bigger on the minds of HIV patients.

One of the studies in the review submitted by the team of the University of Colorado proved that people suffering from HIV were more concerned about their physical health, mental health, accommodations and finances during the pandemic.

The researchers also pointed out that telemedicine played a big role in preventing these mental issues turn into something serious due to the privacy and flexibility it offers but the HIV patients had to overcome the barriers of socioeconomic status, digital literacy and reimbursement issues.

Takeaway

As expected, HIV patients had to be even more cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic because of their compromised immune systems and should continue their treatment and follow-ups for HIV. There, however, was a silver lining that they also had to take the same precautions to avoid contracting the virus as a non-HIV infected l person. 

As we are advancing towards endemicity in India, we should not lower our guard against the virus. We all should unite to follow all the precautionary measures like social distancing, wearing a mask, frequently washing our hands, and getting vaccinated as soon as possible to finally kick this virus out of our country.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

Ever Wonder Why You Get The COVID Vaccine Shot In The Arm?

By now many of us have received at least the first dose of any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines. Everyone knows that the COVID-19 vaccines are administered to the upper arms. But have you ever wondered why?

Most vaccines such as those for Hepatitis B, DPT, HPV, are injected into the upper arms, except some like the Rotavirus vaccine or Oral Polio vaccine which is administered orally. But why the arm? Read on to find the answer.

How does the vaccine work?

Once the vaccine is administered into the upper arm muscle, it is taken to the nearest lymph nodes. There the vaccine comes in contact with the guardians of the body – the White Blood Cells which function to develop immunity against the vaccine. Your body starts producing antibodies and your immunity is now active and you have a defence mechanism against Coronavirus.

What is so special about the upper arm?

There is a muscle in your upper arm called the deltoid muscle. It is a triangular muscle extending from the shoulder to the upper arm and it helps you lift your arm. COVID-19 vaccines are administered right into the deltoid muscle through the intramuscular route. The deltoid muscles have excellent blood circulation. This leads to quick absorption of the components of the vaccine, maximization of the immune response and at the same time reduces the possibility of severe after-effects of the vaccine. 

On top of that, the deltoid muscle injection is easy and fast, which means many doses of the vaccines( to multiple people) can be administered in a short time. This factor is crucial when we are racing against the clock to get the entire population vaccinated by the year-end. 

You will also experience less pain at the vaccine administration site.  

If a person has lost both hands, where can he/she take the jab?

If it is not possible for a person to take the COVID vaccine in arms due to any reason like missing or amputated arms, he/she can be given the intramuscular shot of COVID vaccine in the thigh region which is also a suitable site for intramuscular injections.

Localized reaction

There is no escape from the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines but the side-effects indicate that the vaccine is working. Did you know that one of the most important reasons why COVID-19 vaccines are administered to the upper arm muscle is that the side effects don’t spill over to the nearby muscles and tissues? There will only be localized pain, irritation and inflammation.  

Since the deltoid upper arm muscle has a good blood supply, recovery is rapid.

How to deal with vaccination pain?

Do not rub the vaccine administration site. Once you come home, you can gently apply a cold compress to the area to dull the pain. Paracetamol can help alleviate pain and discomfort. It is normal for the pain to last at least a week and there may even be some bruising at the site. If pain intensifies suddenly or you notice any other unusual side-effect, contact your doctor.  

Conclusion

Vaccination is the only way we can develop herd immunity. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and please do not believe any of the rumours being circulated online. Book yourself and your loved ones a slot. At the same time, continue to maintain COVID safety protocol such as wearing masks and sanitising hands. It doesn’t take much to keep yourself safe.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

Why Has The Efficacy Of COVID-19 Vaccines Dropped?

The debate surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines seems to be never-ending. During the first outbreak last year there was much hype and concern on whether we will ever have a vaccine in time to put a stop to the spread given the unknown nature of the novel virus. Once that question was put to an end with an array of vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Modern, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Covaxin, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen) being released into the market worldwide, there was another matter of concern and controversy; does taking the vaccine put your life at risk? This subsequently led to a significant degree of vaccine hesitancy amongst the older as well as the younger generation causing a delay in the vaccination drive.

Upon successful assurance and expedition of the drive, now there is another disheartening revelation – COVID vaccine efficacy seems to be dropping down.

This fact became evident when about two months ago (in July) Israel recorded a steep decline in the efficacy rate of their inoculated Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Ynet News reported that the COVID vaccine efficacy had dropped down to a startling 60% from June as it was failing to curtail the infection rates in the face of the Delta variant wave and the associated easing of COVID restrictions. 

Why is it Dropping? 

As per reports published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers monitored how the effectiveness of the vaccine dropped to 96% between May June and then to about 60% in July. Researchers as well as doctors after careful consideration of the situation came to three possible conclusions. 

  1. The immune response to mRNA based vaccines starts to dwindle over time. Longer the gap from the time when you have first vaccinated the faster the decline in neutralizing antibodies your immunity might have had. This means that with a compromised COVID immunity the efficacy of the vaccine is also lowered.
  1. Another point that determines the vaccine effectiveness is the surrounding infection rate. If the infection spread in your community is extremely high, your vaccine will not be able to protect you 100%. So masking up and maintaining social distancing still stands as the standard COVID-19 safety protocols no matter if you are vaccinated or not. 
  1. The third factor pointed out by doctors is that your vaccine efficacy will alter depending on the type of infection raging in your community at a given time. A contagious delta variant infects people aggressively therefore a variation in efficacy can be seen.

Do booster shots actually help? 

As per the current trend, fully inoculated people are getting infected with a percentage in some places as worrisome as 50%. The COVID-19 virus is constantly evolving and coming back stronger in each wave. So, in order to really take things up a notch and boost up our immunity doctors are saying that booster shots might be the need of the hour. But how do these shots work?

A vaccine is made up of inactive or weakened viruses or bacteria. When you get yourself the booster dose it prepares your immunity to combat the foreign invasion in the same way as it would for the original infection. This aids your body to create a memory of the virus. If you are exposed to the virus or bacteria again the antibody will be able to detect and finish it off before it can bring about severe damage. You can get booster shots a few weeks, months or even years after your vaccine shot depending upon the guidelines issued in your country.

However, the current government focus in India is to complete the vaccination of the Indian population as that was most necessary. Although many western countries are emphasizing the need for a booster shot drive right away, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is only concerned with getting as many adults vaccinated as possible. So, though a booster shot might be effective in giving your better protection against future COVID-19 infections it is not the agenda of the Health Ministry as of this moment.  

Also Read: Omicron Variant & Vaccine Efficacy

Conclusion 

Although the majority of COVID-19 hospitalization cases have been seen amongst unvaccinated people (especially during the Second Wave in India), there is no guarantee how strong the next viral strain might be and to what extent the vaccine can shield you from possible future infection. Additionally, with the drop in COVID vaccine efficacy over time, the need for booster shots might be essential eventually to not only keep your immunity strong against further COVID-19 infections. A complete vaccination does protect you from getting severely infected but it may not be able to provide you 100% safety from re-infection. Therefore it is important to get vaccinated and also follow COVID-appropriate behaviour for your own safety and the safety of others.

Also Read: Omicron Variant: Latest News & Updates

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

What Are The Risk Enhancing Factors Of COVID-19 Breakthrough Infection?

“Breakthrough infection” is a new term that you may have heard recently. It stands for those people who are fully vaccinated for at least two weeks and then contract COVID-19 infection. It is very much similar to unvaccinated people who get infected with the virus but there are some differences in the symptoms and intensity of the infection.

How is breakthrough infection different from the other?

According to a study conducted on the symptoms of the breakthrough infection, it presents itself with signs like –

Some of these symptoms are exactly the same that unvaccinated people experience when they contract COVID-19. The common symptoms are – 

Notably, there are a couple of more symptoms that usually vaccinated people do not experience. They are –

These two are the most common COVID-19 symptoms but vaccinated people are way less likely to experience these problems. According to a study, people who suffer from breakthrough infection are 58 percent less likely to experience heightened body temperature as compared to the people who did not get their jabs.

What are the other differences?

A few studies have also proven that people who have already taken both their shots of COVID-19 are less likely to be hospitalised than people who have not taken the vaccine yet.

The other difference is that vaccinated people are less likely to experience any symptoms in the initial stages of the infection and also may not develop long COVID.

Why does breakthrough infection present mild symptoms?

As per the experts, the reason behind vaccinated people developing milder symptoms could be the vaccines. Even if these vaccines are unable to block the infection entirely, they seem to ensure that the infected person has fewer virus particles in his/her body.

This belief is yet to be proven with concrete studies but the recent cases suggest the same story.

Read More: All About The Omicron Covid Variant

What raises your risk of developing a breakthrough infection?

According to a study conducted in the United Kingdom, 0.2 percent of the population, which means one in every 500 people, suffers from breakthrough infection after being fully vaccinated. The researchers, however, confirmed that the risk is not the same for everyone. They highlighted four things that may be contributing to your shield against COVID-19. Have a look –

  1. Type of vaccine

The most important and the first aspect should be the type of vaccine you have taken and the relative risk reduction it offers. Relative risk reduction stands for a measurement of how less likely you become to contract the infection as compared to an unvaccinated person.

  1. Time since full vaccination

The relative risk reduction doesn’t completely assure you that the effects of the vaccine are going to last forever. Over the past few weeks, the debate over the third dose of the vaccines has intensified only because the scientists and researchers believe that the efficacy of the vaccines is surely going to wane off as time passes.

Therefore, if you have had taken the second dose of the vaccine more than six months ago, you might be more prone to catch the breakthrough infection.

  1. A variant of the virus

A variant of the virus sure does play a crucial role in defining your risk of contracting the breakthrough infection of COVID-19. Most of the studies that we currently have read had been conducted on the original form of the Coronavirus that hit the world back in December 2019.

The efficacy of most of the available vaccines drops when they are dealing with the Alpha variant of Coronavirus and when it comes to the delta variant, the efficacy drops even further. As the virus is expected to keep mutating in future too, the efficacy of the vaccines may drop even further, leaving us more vulnerable to breakthrough infection.

Also Read: Omicron vs Other Variants

  1. Immune system strength

The above-mentioned factors are based on a general study on a population, irrespective of the overall health of a particular person. It means that your level of protection against breakthrough infection also depends upon your overall health, how strong your immunity is and the other person-specific factors.

You may be more vulnerable to the breakthrough infection because you work in the healthcare sector where you stay more exposed to the virus or your age is over 50 years or you already suffer from a chronic ailment that has compromised your immune system, etc. These may be the contributing factors to your vulnerability.

Notably, all the countries had first vaccinated the people who were most vulnerable to the infection, which means that most of them took their second dose about 6-7 months back. Hence, their immunity against COVID-19 may have waned off by now putting them at risk again.

Should the vaccinated people be worried?

Despite the above-discussed risk factors, vaccines surely are our biggest weapon against COVID-19 disease. Even if they are unable to give 100 percent protection against breakthrough infection, they surely are keeping the chances of severe illness and hospitalisation at the lowest.

There are plenty of countries that are planning to start administering the third dose of the vaccine to provide sturdier protection against COVID-19. Initially, they are planning to administer the dose to the vulnerable groups and then move on to the entire population. This may become a norm in the months to come in every country.

Takeaway

The vaccines might be failing to prevent breakthrough infection in a few cases but they should not be interpreted in any way that these are not effective. The only way we can defeat COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated as soon as possible. When there would be fewer people getting infected, the virus would eventually disappear. Moreover, we should also ensure to keep all the risk enhancing factors in mind to prevent the spread of the virus.

Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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