Vaccine safe for diabetes, heart patients: Dr U Kaul

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Covid-19 vaccination is extremely safe for diabetes and heart patients including those who regularly take blood thinners or anticoagulants, a top medico said.

In an interview with the Greater Kashmir, leading cardiologist Dr U. Kaul dispelled misgivings about Covid-19 vaccine and said “only those patients who have experienced excessive breathlessness after the first dose of vaccine need to get checked from a specialist before taking the second dose”.

“Diabetes, high blood pressure patients are high risk patients and God forbid if they get infected by Covid, the chances of mortality and morbidity are quite high. This category of patients should get the vaccine on priority,” Dr Kaul said.

Dr Kaul said the most frequently asked question by people is that should those taking medicines such as blood thinners, antiplatelets such as aspirin and other drugs for treating heart ailments get the Covid vaccine done. He said a rumour that had become public that patients who take anticoagulants and blood thinners should not get Covid vaccine  “is completely baseless and false”.

“Patients who have suffered heart attacks and taking medicines have more of a risk from Covid and must take the vaccine. There is no contraindication anywhere in the world that such patients consuming medicines should not take the Covid vaccine,” Dr Kaul said.

Dr Kaul said patients who have artificial valves inserted and are taking anticoagulants should also go for the Covid-19 jab. “There are proper guidelines that such patients taking Warfarin or Acitrom to maintain International Normalised Ratio (INR) between 2 and 2.5 should take the Covid vaccine. The only thing one has to be careful about is that INR should not be deranged. If INR is above the normal, there is a possibility of a little bit of bleeding at the spot which gets pricked in order to get the vaccination,” Dr Kaul said.

Dr Kaul said “there is no category of heart patients who should not take the vaccine but those who have experienced absolute breathlessness or some major allergies after taking the first dose of vaccine must get a check-up done from a specialist before taking the second dose of vaccine”.

“The specialists might prescribe some steroids and antihistamines to such people before they can go for the second dose of Covid vaccine but this is a very tiny segment of patients,” Dr Kaul said. He said there have been incidents that some people suffered heart strokes months after taking the Covid vaccine but added that this number is minuscule and there is “one in a million case” where complications have taken place. “The prestigious New England Journal of Medicines has enlisted only 23 cases where people got strokes due to vaccines but this is out of millions of persons who took the jab. There have been cases where vaccines caused blood clotting and drop in platelets but there is treatment for this available now. However, the benefits of vaccines clearly outnumber this minuscule risk” Dr Koul said. 

When asked whether a person already tested positive for Covid-19 needs to get vaccinated, Dr Kaul said: “ Once a person becomes Covid positive, it enhances the immunity as there are antibodies that come into play. The life of antibodies is quite variable in different persons. Some anti-bodies vanish in just a few weeks and in others these antibodies last for as long as 3 months. For people who have tested positive once, taking the vaccine dose does not have any contra-indication and is quite beneficial as it boosts antibodies”. Dr Kaul said the first dose of a vaccine leads to the arrival of antibodies in 30 to 35 days, following which the second dose enhances the anti-bodies. However, Dr Kaul said someone who is going through the Covid period should not take the vaccine.

“There is no need to go for Covid vaccination for the one who has tested positive and is suffering from fever, cold and cough. Once you are out of 8 to 10 days of Covid period then only the vaccine dose must be taken,” Dr Kaul said. 

Dr Kaul said there is a myth that the Covid vaccine affects the fertility and DNA of a person. He said people should take the second dose of the same vaccine category which they had taken during the first dose.

“If one wants to safeguard oneself from Covid, pneumonia and mortality caused by it, the way out is the vaccine. The vaccine doesn’t fully ensure that one doesn’t get infected by Covid but it has been proven that problems caused by Covid such as pneumonia are quite mild if one gets vaccinated” Dr Kaul said.