Can a person presently having COVID-19 (confirmed or suspected) infection be vaccinated?

A person who has or suspects he/she has COVID-19 may increase the risk of infecting others at the vaccination site. So, the infected individuals should defer vaccination for 14 days after symptom resolution.

Is it necessary for a COVID-19 recovered person to take the vaccine? If I had a COVID-19 infection and was treated, why should I receive the vaccine?

Yes, it is advisable to receive a complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine irrespective of past history of infection with COVID-19 to develop a strong immune response against the disease. If you have just recovered from COVID-19, you should wait for 90 days before getting the vaccine. Development of immunity or duration of protection after COVID-19 exposure is not established, therefore, it is recommended to receive the vaccine even after COVID-19 infection.

What comorbidities make a person eligible for vaccination?

The comorbidities that make a person eligible for vaccinations are listed below:

  1. Heart Failure with hospital admission in the past year
  2. Post Cardiac Transplant/Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
  3. Significant Left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVEF <40%)
  4. Moderate or Severe Valvular Heart Disease
  5. Congenital heart disease with severe PAH or Idiopathic PAH
  6. Coronary Artery Disease with past CABG/PTCA/MI AND Hypertension/Diabetes on treatment
  7. Angina AND Hypertension/Diabetes on treatment
  8. CT/MRI documented stroke AND Hypertension/Diabetes on treatment
  9. Pulmonary Artery Hypertension AND Hypertension/Diabetes on treatment
  10. Diabetes (> 10 years OR with complications) AND Hypertension on treatment
  11. Kidney/ Liver/ Hematopoietic stem cell transplant: Recipient/On wait-list
  12. End-Stage Kidney Disease on haemodialysis/ CAPD
  13. Current prolonged use of oral corticosteroids/ immunosuppressant medications
  14. Severe respiratory disease with hospitalizations in last two years/FEV1 <50%
  15. Lymphoma/ Leukaemia/ Myeloma
  16. Diagnosis of any solid cancer on or after 1st July 2020 OR currently on any cancer therapy
  17. Sickle Cell Disease/ Bone marrow failure/ Aplastic Anaemia/ Thalassemia Major
  18. Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases/ HIV infection
  19. Persons with disabilities due to Intellectual disabilities/ Muscular Dystrophy/ Acid attack with involvement of respiratory system/ Persons with disabilities having high support needs/ Multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness

What are the contraindications for this vaccine?

Persons with a history of:

  • Allergic reaction to a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine
  • Immediate or delayed-onset allergic reaction to vaccines or injectable therapies, pharmaceutical products, food items etc.

Pregnancy & Lactation:

  • Pregnant & Lactating women have not been part of any COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial so far. Therefore, women who are pregnant or not sure of their pregnancy; and lactating women should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.

Provisional/temporary contraindications:

  • In these conditions, COVID-19 vaccination is to be deferred for 4-8 weeks after recovery
  • SARS-CoV-2 patients who have been given anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma
  • Acutely unwell and hospitalized (with or without intensive care) patients due to any illness

The Health Ministry has advised caution in vaccinating persons with a history of bleeding or coagulation disorder. How does a person know if he/she has a coagulation disorder? What tests can be conducted?

There are a few bleeding disorders like 'haemophilia'. These persons should take the vaccine under the supervision of their physician. Patients who are admitted to the hospital or ICU and have bleeding problems should defer the vaccination till they are discharged. However, several people with heart and brain disorders who are on blood thinners like aspirin and antiplatelet drugs can continue with their medicines and get vaccinated.

The health advisory also states that those with immunity issues should be cautious about taking the vaccine. What are the markers of ‘Immunity issues’?

Immune issues are of two types: one, immunosuppression caused due to any disease such as AIDS, and people on immunosuppressant drugs such as anti-cancer drugs, steroids, etc. Second, immunodeficiency in people who suffer from some defect in the body's protective system such as congenital immunodeficiency.

Currently, available COVID-19 vaccines do not have any live virus and therefore individuals with immune issues can get vaccinated safely. But the vaccine may not be as effective in them. One should inform the vaccinator about the medicines they consume and if they are suffering from any known immune issues. The vaccinator should have a record of one’s medical condition.