If you are planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine, there are some important things you must know as a woman.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine Here’s what you need to know

After the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the arrival of efficient vaccines have come as a ray of hope. As the vaccines are being rolled out worldwide, you might be wondering about their effectiveness. As a woman, here’s what you need to know.

When does immunity kick in and how long will it last?

After the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, a good immune response kicks in within two weeks. The second dose boosts immune response and your immunity gets stronger in a shorter period. The durability of the immune response over time is still unclear and researchers are observing people who have been inoculated to evaluate how long they remain protected against the disease.

Can you still catch COVID-19 and can you infect others?

Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine protects people from COVID-19. But whether the vaccine also prevents them from transmitting the disease to others (even in the absence of obvious symptoms) is still inconclusive and not quite clear from the ongoing clinical trials. The jury is still out on the matter, so it pays to be cautious till a more informed consensus emerges.

Related: An effective way to look after your mental health and well-being during COVID-19

How long do you need to take precautions after getting vaccinated?

After you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should continue to take precautions in public places. So wear a mask, practise social distancing, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until researchers learn more about the full effect of the vaccines. Since the virus is still being transmitted at a high rate, we as a community have to continue taking precautions until the spread is brought under control or a definite cure has been found. There is still limited evidence as to what the vaccine can do for certain age groups such as children, which consequently puts them at risk, and precautions need to be taken. Also, the vaccines are in short supply, so till the majority get inoculated we can’t afford to let down our guard.

Any precautions for pregnant women or new moms?

Reviewing the available data, it does appear the COVID-19 vaccines are safe to take when you are pregnant, thinking about a future pregnancy, or breastfeeding. However, it is important to consult with your doctor to be sure. There’s no evidence so far to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines can have adverse effects on either mother or baby. This news has been welcomed by breastfeeding women, who can now safely take the vaccine with confidence.

However, one piece of advice to pregnant women receiving the vaccine is that only those who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 through the nature of their work, or who have underlying health conditions that predispose them to develop complications from the virus, should take the vaccine.

RelatedHow pregnant women can stay safe while travelling in times of COVID-19?

Is there any additional care that women need to take?

Women have shown to have more severe side-effects to the vaccine than men. Therefore, it is advisable to prepare women to the fact that they may experience stronger reactions. It is normal, and likely to be reflective of their immune system working. 

If you are a little sensitive and have low pain tolerance, it might be helpful to prepare yourself beforehand and manage any symptoms you may experience. For example, swelling, pain at the injection site, stiffness etc. can be managed through hot/cold therapy or by taking a mild pain reliever. High temperatures, though uncommon, can be brought down with antipyretic medicines or natural fever relievers.

As for symptoms like chills or fatigue, ample rest and recovery are the only proven methods that let you return to normal life. So, postpone appointments and swear off stressful activities for 2-3 days after getting the vaccine. Remember, the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to experience severe symptoms. Read this to know how to deal with the overflow of coronavirus news to avoid anxiety