As the vaccination drive in India is going on successfully for the 18+ population, several questions have been raised regarding the efficiency of the vaccine and the probability of infection after you have completed your doses. Various cases of re-infections and breakthrough infections have been observed leading to chaos and doubts about the vaccine. In this situation, I would like to clear some of the points and misconceptions being held by people.
First of all, this needs to be clear that a vaccine does not guarantee 100 percent prevention of the disease and applies to every vaccine that has been made to date and taken by you. However, a vaccine lowers the chances of infection by significant levels by boosting your immune system and making it produce the targeted antibodies. The same should be expected by a COVID-19 vaccine, whether it’s CoviShield, Covaxin, or Sputnik V, none ensures full safety and efficiency. So, if the question arises of whether you will have the chance of getting infected by the virus after taking both doses of a particular vaccine, the answer is absolutely yes. But the severity of the infection will be highly reduced as now your body knows how to defend itself and which antibodies to produce. In other words, you can still be infected by the virus but have a lesser tendency to catch the disease (with symptoms).
Another question I have come across is why take two doses of the same vaccine? You need to know that the first dose produces a feeble immune response which might not be sufficient given the nature and the ferocity of the virus. The second dose amplifies the effect of the first dose, in simpler words; it strengthens the immune system and tends to trigger stronger immune responses and produce antibodies in multiplicative quantities that are enough to prevent any harm caused to your body by the virus. However, during the period between the two doses and before 2-3 weeks of taking the second dose, you have a higher chance of infection as the level of antibodies is not significant enough, but again, there is no need to panic as it is perfectly normal.
Many people have this misconception that getting fever and chills after taking a dose means you have acquired the disease. As ridiculous as it sounds, it is completely untrue! When a foreign material enters your body, your body will react and respond to it leading to fever, cold, chills and body ache. It is nothing unnatural and is likely to happen after taking any type of vaccine given you understand the nature of the vaccine and its function.
Another question and a very important one is should you wait after getting infected by the virus to take a dose of a vaccine? The answer to this is yes, you need to wait a minimum of three months after acquiring the virus whether it is your first dose or second. The reason behind this is after getting the infection, your body is already producing its antibodies to fight back, and even after you recover, the antibodies stay within for quite some time decreasing the chances of re-infection in the initial period. However, the immunity starts to wane after 2-3 months and this is the perfect time to take a jab. In this way, you maintain your immunity and continue to create a protective shield around yourself.