Allergics, expecting mothers can take COVID-19 vaccine, says Kashmir Doctors' body

File Photo of Dr Nisar ul Hassan

Ahead of the commencement of the pan-India COVID-19 vaccination drive, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Thursday said that people with allergies can take the Oxford vaccine Covishield, manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India.

The COVID-19 vaccination drive is all set to commence across India on January 16. Three thousand people predominantly healthcare workers are expected to receive the first shots at 30 locations across Jammu and Kashmir.

“Anyone with history of allergy to food or medicine can have the vaccine,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement issued to GNS.

However, people allergic to any of the ingredients present in the vaccine should not take the vaccine,” he added.

Dr Nisar said that Covishield contains weakened adenovirus encoding Covid-19 spike protein while the other components in the vaccine are L-histidine, L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, magnesium chloride hexahydrate, polysorbate 80, ethanol, sucrose, sodium chloride, disodium edetate dihydrate and water for injection.

The DAK President further said the vaccine can be considered for use in pregnancy when the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

“Pregnant women can take the vaccine if the risk of exposure to Covid-19 is high or if the woman has underlying condition heightening her risk of serious complications,” he explained adding that women who are breastfeeding can also be given the vaccine.

Dr Nisar said the Oxford vaccine is in injectable form and the route of administration is intramuscular. It is to be given into the muscle at the top of the upper arm (deltoid muscle).

The vaccine has been approved for use in people 18 years or older and consists of two separate doses of 0.5 ml each. The second dose should be given between 4 to 6 weeks after the first dose, he added.

“However, there is data available for administration of second dose upto 12 weeks after the first dose from the overseas studies.”

As per the DAK President, the vaccine can be stored in ordinary refrigerators which means the vaccine can be administered in existing healthcare settings. 

He said the vaccine is the single best defense against Covid-19 that would save lives and prevent disease transmission. 

“We need to communicate to people about the importance of the vaccine and dispel miscommunication, conspiracies and anti-vaccination distortions,” he further added.