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Coronavirus Explainer: Who Should Not Get Vaccinated? What Are The Possible Adverse Reactions And Other Questions Answered

India has begun inoculating people against coronavirus from January 16, which according to the government is the rollout of the biggest vaccination drive in the world. The government has estimated that 30 crore people - including frontline and healthcare workers, people above the age of 50 and also those with comorbidities will be vaccinated in the first phase of the drive across the country over the next few months. As per the data released by the government on Monday (January 18) evening, India has vaccinated around 3.8 lakh people in three days' time.

As more and more people get vaccinated, here's a break down of the Centre's fact sheet on Covishield and Covaxin that specifies which category of people should not get vaccinated and the possible side effects from the vaccines.

Who is not eligible to be administered the COVID-19 vaccine?

According to the government:

a. People below 18 years of age are not allowed to receive the COVID-19 vaccine
b. Pregnant and lactating mothers are also not advised to take the COVID-19 Vaccine
c. People with allergic reactions to vaccines, pharmaceutical products, notable food allergies are also not allowed
d. Anyone who has had an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine earlier
e. Persons showing active symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection should also avoid getting vaccinated
f. COVID-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-Cov-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma are also in this ?not eligible' list
g. People who are acutely unwell and hospitalised patients (with or without intensive care) due to any illness are also included
Covaxin's, vaccine-makers Bharat Biotech, two days after India began mass vaccinations against COVID, warned the public in a fact-sheet and added that people who have weaker immunity or are on a medicine that affects their immune system and people with allergies must not take the Covaxin shot.

Earlier, the government had said that patients who are on immuno-suppressants or suffer from immune deficiency could take the vaccine but the response would be less effective in such individuals. Usually, cancer patients who are on chemotherapy, HIV-positive people and those who are on steroids are immune-suppressed.
Word Of Caution:

The government has also said that the vaccine should be given with 'caution' to persons with a history of any bleeding or coagulation disorder - platelet disorder, clotting factor deficiency, or coagulopathy.
Can Person With Past History Of COVID-19 be administered With Vaccine?

According to the government, people who had COVID-19 infection in past can be given the vaccine.
Will The Vaccine Be Effective In Those With Comorbidities?

As per the government factsheet the response to COVID-19 vaccine 'may be less in these individuals.' However, further information on this is awaited in this regard.
Other General Instructions Given To The States By The Centre:

The government has cautioned the states on the following:

a. Co-administration of vaccines: If required, COVID vaccine and other vaccines should be separated by an interval of at least 14 days
b. Interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccine: The centre also said that interchangeability of vaccine is not permitted. The second dose of the vaccine should also be of the one that was administered as first dose
c. Vaccinators must store both vaccines at +2C to +8C; protect them from light; and discard the vaccine if found to be frozen
What Are The Common Adverse Events?

For Covishield, the fact sheet says some mild adverse events can happen following immunisation:

a. Injection site tenderness; injection site pain; headache; fatigue; myalgia (muscle pain); discomfort; pyrexia (an abnormal elevation of body temperature); chills; and nausea
b. The advisory adds that in such cases, a paracetamol can be given
c. The fact sheet also says 'very rare events of demyelinating disorders' have been reported following vaccination with Covishield, 'without the causal relationship establishment.'

According to the Centre's fact sheet, these are the common adverse events after administering Covaxin:

- Injection site pain
- Fatigue
- Fever
- Headache
- Body ache
- Nausea
- Abdominal pain
- Dizziness
- Sweating
- Cold
- Cough