How Will Life Change after Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine?
People should wear a mask, wash hands and maintain social distancing even after getting vaccinated.
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
Ever since India has rolled out the COVID-19 vaccine drive, there has been a lot of confusion about how life changes after people are vaccinated, leading to online misinformation, and people questioning the vaccine itself.
We spoke with experts in the field to answer some questions for people who are getting vaccinated.
When am I completely immune?
The two COVID-19 vaccines approved in India – Covishield and Covaxin – are two-dose vaccines administered about four weeks apart.
According to a fact sheet released by Covishield’s manufacturer Serum Institute of India, protective immune response kicks-in four weeks after the second dose.
Can I stop wearing a mask after getting both the doses?
According to Dr Shahid Jameel, a virologist and the director of Trivedi School of Biosciences, you may still get infected with the virus after getting vaccinated.
However, the virus will not replicate or become severe if you are vaccinated. And yes, you may still be able to transmit the disease. So, if you are a front-line worker and have been vaccinated, you should still wear the mask to ensure that you don’t give the infection to the people who are not vaccinated. People should also follow other hygiene practices like washing hands, sanitising things and maintaining social distancing.
When will the restrictions be removed?
According to Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “75 to 85 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated to reach the herd immunity threshold, after which it will be safe for countries to remove restrictions.”
That means some of the restrictions will remain in place for a while as it will take time for countries to reach those numbers.
What does the vaccine do if it can’t guarantee immunity and end of transmission?
Yes, it is true that vaccines are not 100 per cent effective. But they do produce antibodies in the recipient’s body, ensuring that they do not get a severe illness from the infection. That also means that the vaccine reduces the chances of death due to the disease.
So, while it is good news that vaccines are ready and are being administered, we don’t fully know how long the vaccine’s immunity lasts and how effective it will be in the long run. We need to remain in the mindset that we are still living through the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, people should expect many restrictions to stay in place for some time, as we all work together to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
(This was first published on FIT and has been republished with permission.)
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