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Hesitant about getting the Covid-19 vaccine, ladies? An expert clears your doubts

Published on:24 August 2021, 13:00pm IST
Will it affect my periods? Will it hamper my fertility? If you are among Women who have several questions regarding the Covid-19 vaccine, read on.
Dr Amit Nabar
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covid-19 vaccine
Guard yourself against Covid-19. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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It has been over six months since India started the world’s largest
vaccination drive against coronavirus. Slowly and steadily, the nation is
making every effort to win the war against Covid-19. Currently, statistics
say that about 9 percent of India’s population has received two doses and
are fully vaccinated. The country has administered a total of 55.7 crore
Covid-19 vaccine doses midway through August 2021. However, multiple data
show that compared to men, fewer women have received their vaccine.

Figures imply that vaccine hesitancy in women is higher than in men. This
can become detrimental in our battle against Covid-19. Approximately 65% of
India’s inhabitants live in rural areas where myths around the vaccines’
efficacy are widely prevalent. There is plenty of misinformation floating
around about the side effects of vaccination in women. At present, our only
weapon to fight Covid-19 is immunisation, and therefore, every individual
must prioritise their vaccine shots.

covid-19 vaccine
Prevention is better than cure! Go get vaccinated. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Healthcare practitioners and epidemiologists have already warned against the
perils of an the non-vaccinated population. Post the brutal and crippling second
wave, we must ensure that this episode doesn’t repeat. Hence, increasing
awareness and debunking myths about vaccination among women is a must.

Busting myths

1. A common misconception is that the vaccine makes a woman infertile. This
false. There is evidence that shows women have become pregnant post-
vaccination.

2. Some say women should avoid getting jabbed while menstruating as it will
disrupt the cycle. Many also fear that the vaccine will cause death or that
Covid-19 won’t harm them. People in urban areas have also let such myths
influence their minds, but it is more widespread in villages.

It is crucial to understand that there is absolutely no basis for such
information. People must not get influenced by rumours, as vaccines are
pivotal to save lives. A vaccine is a critical biological preparation to
battle against a particular infectious disease that encompasses an immune
system improvement.

covid-19 vaccine
Women who are obese or have blood pressure issues should safeguard themselves against Covid-19. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Moreover, it is essential to note that pregnant women with underlying health
conditions such as high blood pressure and obesity, are more likely to
contract Covid-19. Hence, they must get vaccinated to stay protected. There
are no known hazards for vaccines in breastfeeding women either. In the case
of a vaccinated lactating woman, the mother’s antibodies may go through the
breast milk to the baby and only serve as protection. Thus, not getting
immunised against Covid-19 increases health risks and is not the other way
around.

The side effects of getting vaccinated are minor and can be felt by any
individual. One may experience fever, fatigue, headache, dehydration, muscle
pain at the injection site, etc. These side effects are common in all.

Tackling social issues

When we are looking at India, we cannot wholly ignore societal conditioning.
Women here in conservative households are taught from a young age to care
for their families first. Often, they are not in charge of making their own
decisions. If the man of the family advises against vaccination, thinking it
may affect their fertility; the woman will follow what he decides. This is
not the case for every woman, but a percentage of women in India deal with
such scenarios.

Access to vaccination is another problem. For underprivileged women,
accessing the portal also becomes a task. Despite free vaccines available at
government health centres, slots aren’t always available. With all these
challenges in the backdrop, the only way to spread awareness and reduce
vaccine hesitancy is a behavioural and mindset change.

Also Read: This is the ultimate guide to getting a Covid-19 vaccine for breastfeeding mothers

covid-19 vaccine
What’s your vaccination status? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

It is of paramount importance to clear your doubts. Here is what you can do.
If you are confused about vaccination, please consider speaking to your
doctor about:

1. Your risk of exposure to Covid-19
2. The dangers of severe illness
3. The known benefits of vaccination
4. Understand when to take it
5. The limited but growing evidence on the safety of vaccinations during
pregnancy

Also Read: Should I delay IVF treatment till I get the COVID-19 vaccine? A doctor answers IVF-related fears amidst the pandemic

When should you be concerned?

1. If a woman is bleeding more than usual
2. A long delay in periods
3. Undergoing drastic changes in the menstruation pattern for more than two
cycles
4. When menopausal women experience bleeding

Therefore, as a community, it is imperative to educate and encourage both
men and women to get the vaccination. Remember, the health of the nation in
many ways depends on the health of our women too. Let’s make sure we are not
engaging in rumour-mongering. If you are eligible to get the vaccine,
register yourself and get the shot, and encourage others around you to do
the same. Stay safe!

Dr Amit Nabar Dr Amit Nabar

Dr Amit Nabar, Head - Emergency Medicine and Surgical ICU, SL Raheja Hospital, Mahim- A Fortis Associate