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Here’s why the 28-day gap between two COVID-19 vaccine shots is necessary

Here’s why the 28-day gap between two COVID-19 vaccine shots is necessary

You can still get COVID-19 even after your second dose, but it will be an extremely mild one, and may not need hospitalization, says a doctor

According to India’s vaccination program, the prescribed interval between the two doses of Covishield is 28 days. While Indians have begun to get vaccinated and many have even registered for their second dose, there is a question that they have asked: what is the significance of the 28-day gap between the two doses?

To answer this question, Dr Farah Ingale, director, internal medicine at Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi, says that before answering this question, one needs to understand just how important vaccination is.

COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection. If you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, coworkers and others around you. The vaccines, on the other hand, help to build immunity and are instrumental in breaking the chain of spread, the doctor explains.

“The two vaccines available in India, Covaxin and Covishield have gone through rigorous clinical efficacy processes and trials, after which they have been certified for public administration. They are safe and must be taken after seeking advice from your physician,” she says.

What is the vaccination time span?

The doctor says that it takes about 2-3 weeks for antibodies to develop after the first dose is taken. “With the first dose, people develop antibodies slowly, but with the second dose, this process gets faster. A minimum 28-day gap, therefore, is appropriate. Many countries are maintaining a gap of around three months to ensure the maximum number of people in their country get inoculated. In India, our approach has been different. Through our phased approach — which keeps in mind our population size — we are hoping people receive their vaccination in a timely manner,” explains Dr Ingale.

Is there anything a person must do between the doses?

The doctor says that receiving your first dose doesn’t mean you will not get infected.

“You can still get COVID-19 even after your second dose, but it will be an extremely mild one, and may not need hospitalization.”

* Wear a mask when outside, avoiding crowded gatherings.
* Don’t travel to places where there’s no way to know if the people around you have been vaccinated.
* After vaccination, you may experience common side-effects like pain, light fever, tiredness, bodyache, etc., so drink plenty of fluids, and apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
* Eat nutritious food to improve immunity.
* Ensure you get a good sleep.
* Most importantly, do not consider yourself to be immune to the dreaded virus.