Is COVID Vaccination Mandatory in India? How Many Doses Do I Need?

Here’s what the government advisory says about the COVID vaccine drive, its schedule and more. Read on.

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With India set to rollout COVID-19 vaccines from 16 January, the country is gearing up for perhaps one of the biggest vaccination drives in the world. While questions about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine loom, the Union Ministry of Health had released a set of answers, addressing some of the common concerns of the general public.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe? Is it mandatory to get vaccinated? What about those who have already recovered?

Here’s what the government advisory says about these questions, and more. Read on.

Is the vaccine safe? Since it is being introduced in a very short span of time, I am concerned.

Vaccines will be introduced in the country only after the regulatory bodies clear it based on its safety and efficacy, the government said, in a statement.

Is it mandatory to take the COVID-19 vaccine? 

No, vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine to protect oneself against the disease and to also limit the spread of the disease to close contacts, including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers.

Can a person currently infected with COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) be vaccinated?

Persons with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection may increase the risk of spreading the same to others at the vaccination site. For this reason, infected individuals should defer vaccination by 14 days after resolution of symptoms.

Is it necessary for a COVID recovered person to take the vaccine?

Yes, it is advisable to receive complete schedule of COVID vaccination irrespective of past history of infection. This will help them in developing a strong immune response against the disease, the health ministry said.

How many doses of the vaccine would have to be taken by me? What would be the interval?

Two doses of vaccine are to be taken 28 days apart for an individual to complete the vaccination schedule.

When exactly will antibodies develop?

Protective levels of antibodies are generally developed two weeks after receiving the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

How will I know if I am eligible for vaccination or not?

  • In the first phase, COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to the priority group of healthcare workers and frontline workers
  • Vaccination of 50+ age group may also begin early, based on vaccine availability
  • The eligible beneficiaries will be informed through their registered mobile number regarding the health facility where the vaccination will be provided and the scheduled time for the same
  • This will be done to avoid any inconvenience in registration and vaccination of beneficiaries

How do I register to be vaccinated?

The FAQ released by the government does not address this. Watch this space for updates on this.

Can a person get the COVID-19 vaccine without registration with Health Department?

No, registration of beneficiary is mandatory for vaccination for COVID-19. Only after registration will the information on the session site to visit and the time be shared with the beneficiary.

What documents are required for registration of eligible beneficiary?

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
  • Passport
  • Pension Document
  • Service Identity Card issued to employees by Central/ State Govt./ Public Limited Companies
  • Voter ID
Will a photo ID be required at the time of registration?

The photo ID produced at the time of registration must be produced and verified at the time of vaccination.

How will the beneficiary receive information about due date of vaccination?

Following online registration, beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number on the due date, place and time of vaccination.

Will vaccinated beneficiaries receive information on the status of their vaccination after completion?

Yes. On getting due dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number.

After all doses of vaccine are administered, a QR code based certificate will also be sent to the registered mobile number of the beneficiary.

Are there any preventive measures and precautions that one needs to follow at the session site?

  • The beneficiary should rest at the vaccination centre for at least half an hour after taking the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Inform the nearest health authorities/ASHA in case you feel any discomfort or uneasiness subsequently
  • Remember to continue following key COVID appropriate behavior like wearing of mask, maintaining hand sanitisation and physical distancing.

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