From the Viewsroom

Anaphylactic? What’s that?

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on March 09, 2021

The government must clear niggling doubts about the Covid vaccine

If you are in the habit of reading labels on food and medicine packs for their ingredients and contra-indications, its possible you’ve been reading-up on Covid-19 vaccines as well.

And there’s one word that crops up often — anaphylaxis. In fact, even if you haven’t run into the word, its good to get acquainted with it, as you are told not to take the Covid-19 vaccine if you have a history of anaphylactic reaction.

Well, how are we to know if we have a history of this reaction? What if this is the first time? Do food allergies qualify? What if a person is allergic to paracetamol and that family of medicine?

This is just a tiny insight into the queries that swirl in many minds, and the answers are not always standardised. On a personal basis, doctors explain anaphylaxis is a very serious allergic reaction that happens within minutes of vaccination. That’s why you are observed for half-hour before being sent home, one doctor explained to calm frayed nerves.

While the government has put out elaborate advisories, it is evident that many doubts remain, even among those keen to take the vaccine. And given the volumes of people the doctors are looking to cover every day, it may be difficult to give each patient a run-down of what to expect, understand their medical history and proceed.

Nevertheless, India has been trotting along at a steady pace, clocking two crore vaccinations. The deaths reported are being delinked from the vaccine, and that’s all the visibility there is on that subject.

In public interest, the government should take its efforts a step further, by making answers readily available on the queries people have on side-effects and counsel on other such concerns. A little conversation can go a long way in building trust in the public health support the government can provide, if indeed it sets its mind to it.

Published on March 09, 2021

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