The many severe cases of Covid-19 we saw during the initial months of the pandemic spread a scare among common people, including me, as everyone was waiting for vaccines to be rolled out. At Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, we got Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin to undergo Phase 3 clinical trials, and I and 14 of my family members volunteered for the trials.
I’m happy to say that we have all been doing fine, and feel confident about moving around. Though I was confident about being part of the trial, as Bharat Biotech has eminent scientists who would come out with a good vaccine, there was a feeling of nervousness as to what would happen after I got injected with the vaccine, and if there would be any side-effects. But I went ahead with the trial, as it is crucial for all of us to get vaccinated.
On December 5, when I reached the hospital, my details were taken -- age, comorbidities and declaration form. I am 64 years old and have no comorbidities. The healthcare workers asked me to take a seat and were ready to administer the vaccine. Seated in a chair, waiting for the jab, I had an overwhelming feeling that I made the right choice in volunteering, and that the vaccine would help me stave off the coronavirus.
The workers injected the syringe into my left arm -- one small prick and it was done.
I had got the Covid vaccine. It was a cheerful moment, and I was immediately asked to go home, but report symptoms such as fever, nausea, tiredness and allergies. I was worried, but there were no symptoms. I felt normal and followed my daily activities. My family members, too, decided to volunteer for trials, and 14 -- aged 18-64 -- got vaccinated after me, but showed no side-effects.
The booster shot was slotted after 28 days, and in this time, I was worried on and off, looking out for any side-effects. But after 28 days, we got our booster shots and are feeling great. Though all of us are now safe from the vaccine, we still follow all Covid safety norms like wearing masks, social distancing and hand hygiene, as experts suggest we keep our guard up, vaccine or no vaccine.
Recently, there has been speculation on the efficacy of Covishield and Covaxin, but right now, what we need is a good vaccine for all. We need to spread awareness and encourage people to get vaccinated. One should come forward and take the vaccine, instead of taking chances.
K M Srinivas Murthy,
Director, Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, and former president of Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry