Vaccinating high risk groups vital: Nagaland Health Dept

COVID-19 vaccination drive was held at the Directorate of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW) on April 16 with an effort to effectively reach full vaccination coverage of a total of 163 HCWs/FLWs and Directorate staff. (Photo Courtesy: DoHFW)
COVID-19 vaccination drive was held at the Directorate of Health & Family Welfare (DoHFW) on April 16 with an effort to effectively reach full vaccination coverage of a total of 163 HCWs/FLWs and Directorate staff. (Photo Courtesy: DoHFW)

DIMAPUR, APRIL 16 (MExN): With the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the country, the Nagaland Directorate of Health and Family Welfare today stressed on the importance of high risk groups getting vaccinated.

“The country is seeing an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths overwhelming the health system even in metros with maximum resources and capacity. The second wave of COVID-19 has come as a result of laxity in adherence to wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene coupled with the relaxation of SOPs and numerous social, religious or political gatherings. The new variants of SARS-COV-2 are also linked with more transmissibility,” a press release from the directorate stated. 

It stressed that COVID-19 vaccines will be critical for the citizens of the state to reduce mortality and ensure continuity of essential services. The high-risk groups (45 years and above) need to be protected at the earliest through vaccines and COVID -19 appropriate behaviors, it added. 

The Health Department gave a detailed overview of the vaccine’s importance, its safety, and how one can get vaccinated. 

It stated that the COVID-19 vaccines have been found to be very effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization and deaths. 

The department said that the death rate by COVID-19 for 45 years and above remains very high at 2.6% in the state. The long-term effects of COVID-19 disease is also still under evaluation. 

COVID-19 vaccines offer us the safest way out of the pandemic along with covid-19 appropriate behaviors (wearing mask, physical distancing and hand washing), it added. 

Vaccine safety
The department informed that the vaccines have gone through rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. “This vaccine has proven to be as safe as any other injectable drugs or vaccine currently in use.

The vaccines available in India use only established technology and no long-term side effects are expected,” it said.

The department disclosed that after vaccination, some beneficiaries may experience mild side effects for a few hours up to 48 hours like; pain or swelling at the injection site; headache or body ache; fever or chills; malaise/ lethargy. 

“It is just your body’s response to the vaccine and is considered good. It can subside by simple drugs like paracetamol or on its own. These symptoms are observed even in children after routine immunization,” it informed. 

Dosage
The vaccination process requires a person to have two doses 6-8 weeks apart. Vaccines do not provide instant protection. It takes about two weeks after the 2nd dose for the immune system to make the desired antibodies and offer protection. 

The first dose will prime and prepare the immune system while the second dose gives a boost to the immune system and antibody response is generated.

COVID-19 vaccination centers
COVID-19 vaccination centers are in all districts at District Hospitals, CHCs, PHCs and health and wellness centers where service can be availed for free. The vaccine is also available from selected private hospitals at a minimal cost.

Vaccination centers are being scaled up every 15 days and will also be available in selected workplaces or prominent locations in the community, the department informed. 

Updated information can be sought by calling the state helpline 1800-345-0019 or the district CMO’s office. 

Registration
There are two ways to get registered and avail the vaccine if a person is eligible (45 years and above, healthcare or frontline worker)

One can directly walk in to any COVID-19 vaccination centre with a photo ID (Aadhar, electoral ID, Work ID, driving licence, PAN, Passport etc).

One can also register at https://selfregistration.cowin.gov.in with their mobile number, photo ID and choose the vaccination center and date as convenient.

Underlying health conditions
The Health Department informed that COVID-19 vaccines are mainly intended for high-risk people with diabetes, hypertension, heart, liver or kidney diseases, cancer or anyone who is immune-compromised. These high-risk categories are the highest risk of severe disease or death by COVID19 and should be protected by vaccines at the earliest, it stressed. 

After vaccination
Even after getting vaccinated, people still need to wear a mask, maintain hand hygiene and maintain physical distancing.

“The vaccine will protect you against severe disease, hospitalizations or death but you may still transmit the virus to others. You need to wear a mask and maintain physical distancing even after vaccination for own safety and those around you. Moreover, the full protection of the vaccine will be seen only two weeks after the second dose,” the department informed.