In 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic first hit India, many people suffered due to loss of life and loss of jobs. However, when the vaccine was launched in January, people felt that their prayers have been answered. In India, the two vaccines approved for use are COVISHIELD and COVAXIN. According to a report by The Indian Express, while COVISHIELD has been found to have almost 70-90 percent efficacy, COVAXIN shows 81 percent efficacy, which means if 100 people get the vaccine, around 70-90 of them will not be having asymptomatic COVID disease.
As vaccination drives have reached almost all corners of the country, people in my village of Hatichara in Tripura have also received their doses. The health camps for the first dose were set up by the government of Tripura in Gamaria Health Centre and Hatichara Anganwadi centre on 18th March and 24th March respectively. All people above the age of 45 have been given their first doses whereas some have received their second doses also. After the vaccination, I asked a lot of people about their experiences. Here is the response from some of them:
Hiran Joy Jamatia (56, male)
My first interviewee was Hiran Joy Jamatia who is a headmaster of a local school and has taken both doses. He also happens to be my father. The first dose was taken on March 18 at the Gamaria Health Centre and the second dose was taken at the Chowmuhani Primary Health Centre on May 3. My father is a patient of hypertension and diabetes. He said that he did not feel pain after any of the doses. “I did not get any fever or bodyache after the vaccination. Only my arm hurt a little bit where the needle was inserted. It was just like taking any other vaccine,” he said.
Bajyanti Jamatia (57, female)
"Like all other people above the age of 45, I also went to the health centre to get my shot. It was free and I just had to show my Aadhar Card. I got my shot and went home. Soon after that I developed a swelling on my arm where the shot was given. I also got bodyache. However, both ailments disappeared after a few days. "
Mahabir Jamatia (58, male)
"I was afraid that I might get fever and might have to be on bed rest for days but nothing of that sort happened. There was a slight pain at the site where the vaccine was administered by there was no swelling. Ironically, it is my young son Lelin (27) who had fever for two days after he got vaccine. Despite his young age, he got the vaccine because he is a health worker."
Ratna Sadhan Jamatia (57 male)
"Our village is a small one so news gets around very fast. We were all informed that people older than 45 should go to the village health centre to get the Covid-19 vaccine so I went there with other villagers. I was given the dose and felt a mild pain at the site of administration of the vaccine. Other than that I had no issues."
Banomati Jamatia (56)
"I did not experience any side effect or illness because of the dose. However, just as a precaution, I was given some tablets by the health centre to take in case any symptoms develop. It's been many days since the vaccination and I feel fine."
In my experience, most of the people from Hatichara Village have experienced very mild symptoms from taking the Covid-19 vaccine. Usually, the most common side-effects are pain, headache, muscle or joint aches, fever and nausea, which are signs that the body is building protection. Covishield vaccines are safe and getting vaccinated will protect you against developing severe COVID-19 disease and dying from COVID-19. Hence we all should take this vaccine because as we all know prevention is better than cure.
This article has been created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.