PM Modi has launched one of the world’s largest coronavirus vaccination drives today, setting in motion a complex deployment plan aimed at curbing the wide spread of infections across a nation of more than 1.3 billion people. With much said and discussed about the effectiveness of the vaccines, people are curious to know everything about the vaccines and the information related to it.

Here are some FAQ’s to get rid of those doubts and queries.

Question: When does the nationwide vaccination drive begin?

Answer: The first phase of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive has begun on January 16.

Question: Who all will get vaccinated first? Will everyone get vaccinated simultaneously?

Answer: Based on the potential availability of vaccines the Government of India has selected the priority groups who will be vaccinated on priority as they are at higher risk. The first group includes healthcare and frontline workers. The second group to receive COVID 19 vaccine will be persons over 50 years of age and persons under 50 years with comorbid conditions.

Question: Which vaccines have been granted approval for emergency use in India?

Answer: The drug regulator granted the emergency use approval for two indigenous vaccines — Covishield by Serum Institute of India, developed by Oxford and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech.

Also read: Coronavirus vaccine LIVE Updates: PM Modi launches nationwide inoculation drive, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria receives vaccine shot

Question: Is it compulsory to get vaccinated?

Answer: Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine for protecting one-self against this disease and also to limit the spread of this disease to the close contacts including family members, friends, relatives and co-workers.

Question: What are the guidelines for receiving the vaccine? Can people with medical conditions do so?

Answer: As per government’s guidelines, COVID-19 vaccination is allowed only for 18 years and above. Yes, people with the following conditions can be vaccinated:

Persons with a past history of COVID or RT-PCR positive illness.

Those who have a history of chronic diseases or morbidities.

Immuno-deficiency, HIV, patients on immune-suppression due to any condition.

Question? Who all should avoid getting vaccinated?

Answer: People with a history of anaphylactic or allergic reactions should not be given the jabs. 

Persons with a history of immediate or delayed-onset anaphylaxis or allergic reaction to vaccine or injectable therapies, pharmaceutical products, food items should avoid vaccination.

Pregnant women or who are not sure of their pregnancy and lactating mothers shouldn’t receive the vaccine.

COVID-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma should not receive the jab.

Question: Are the vaccines safe?

Answer: Safety is the most important factor, and all standard precautions as have been followed in the past for giving vaccine approval, have been followed in this case too.

Question: Can a person with an active Covid-19 infection be vaccinated?

Answer: A person with active and symptomatic Covid-19 infection may increase the risk of spreading the same to others at vaccination site. Also, we do not know how effective the vaccine will be in such a situation when one already has an active infection. Active and symptomatic individuals should defer vaccination for at least 14 days after the symptoms are resolved.

Question: What the side effects of the vaccine?

Answer: As is true for other vaccines, some recipients may show some side effects like mild fever, pain at the site of injection, body ache, etc. States have been asked to make arrangements to deal with any Covid-19 vaccine related side effects as one of the measures towards safe vaccine delivery.

Question: What is the cost of vaccines which have been approved?

Answer: Rs 200 per dose for SII’s Covishield, but the price is fixed only for the first 1.1 crore doses supplied to the government.

For Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, procured by the government would cost Rs 206 per dose.

Also read: India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive begins today; When will it be available to general public?

Question: How will the government keep track or monitor the Covid vaccine process and data?

Answer: To monitor the inoculation drive and track the listed beneficiaries for vaccination on a real-time basis, the central government has developed Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network or Co-WIN application. Co-WIN will facilitate real time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature during the COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Question: Where can a person get the vaccine?

Answer: By directly approaching the designated hospitals or medical centres, one cannot get the vaccine. They will have to register themselves online only using the CoWIN app. The app has been released in public domain and it can be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Question: How will the CoWin app work and what all is necessary to register for the app?

Answer: After a person registers online, he/she will receive an SMS on the due date, place and time of their vaccination. The app will also give reminders for the second dose, help one to reschedule the vaccination and report any adverse events. A unique health ID will be generated for each vaccine beneficiary in the CoWIN system, to help the government keep track. A QR code-based digital certificate will be sent via the application to those who have been administered both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Anyone who wishes to register on CoWIN app, needs to upload any one of the twelve photo-identity documents such as voter card, Aadhaar, driving license, among others to register and for verification of the beneficiary at the session site to ensure that the intended person is vaccinated.

Question: If anyone has any doubts, confusion or queries, who can they contact?

Answer: A dedicated 24×7 call centre – 1075 – has also been established for addressing the queries related to the pandemic, COVID-19 vaccine rollout and providing guidance on the Co-WIN software.

Also read: Global Vaccine Feat: Vaccine shortage hits US; India to supply vaccine doses to world