New Delhi | Abhinav Gupta: Standing strong against novel coronavirus for over a year, India is now undergoing what has been touted as the world’s largest vaccination drive. The country is gearing up to inoculate its “priority population” of 50-plus people in the third phase of the drive.

Over 1 crore people have received the jab and the Centre has asked states to increase the vaccination session sites. Meanwhile, people have several queries regarding the vaccination, the extent of its impact, post-vaccination side effects and how to get the jab.

Bringing answers to all such queries, Jagran New Media’s Pratyush Ranjan and Abhinav Gupta held an in-depth panel discussion with Dr Naveen Thacker and Dr Virendra Kumar Mittal under the organistion’s initiative Jagran Dialogues - Strengthening India.

Dr Thacker is a well-known child specialist and the executive director of the International Pediatric Association (IPA) and former president of Asia Pacific Pediatric Association (APPA). He is also the first person to get the COVID-19 vaccination in Gujarat. He is the member of many committees of Government of India and ICMR like Immunization Action Group, ICMR Subcommittee on Polio Vaccine, ICMR Expert committee on Vaccines. Dr Thacker’s work on Polio eradication is recognised internationally.

Dr Mittal is also a renowned pediatrician and neonatologist who is affiliated with several reputed hospitals. He has also been a member of the Indian Academy of Pediatricians.

Here are the excerpts of the panel discussion on COVID-19 vaccination:

Q. What was your first reaction after getting vaccinated? What is your message to the people?

Dr Naveen: People were unsure about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, so I offered the Gujarat government to be the first one to take the COVID-19 vaccine shot. In fact, I was the first person in the state to get inoculated.

The purpose was that since we (me and Dr Mittal) are pediatricians, we have been witnessing the miracles of vaccines as they have eradicated some very big diseases in children like polio, meningitis etc.

So, my message to the people is that vaccination is the only way which can help us fight COVID-19 and eradicate it. I will not say vaccination is the only solution, rather it is the last resort to win the fight against virus. The vaccine is completely safe and each vaccine shot is 100 per cent efficient and equally capable of fighting the new strains of the virus.

Q. What are the side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? What are the symptoms people should be aware of?

Dr Naveen: We need to understand two things - one is called side effect which is more commonly used with medicines. Since vaccines are administered to healthy people who are not suffering from any disease, adverse events following immunisation are monitored in them. If you are being hospitalised after being administered the vaccine, then you will report about the same.

The Health Ministry holds a briefing everyday in which it tells about the number of people hospitalised after getting vaccinated and how many deaths have been caused. We should not get afraid of this because all these people are being monitored and no such correlation with vaccination has been found till date.

When we talk about side effects, then mild fever, muscle pain where the injection was given, headache, bodyache are some symptoms which are common even when we administer vaccines to children and we tell their parents not to worry about it. As adults, when it has come on us to get vaccinated, we are afraid of side effects.

Watch this space for the full panel discussion with Dr Naveen Thacker and Dr Virendra Kumar Mittal:

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta