Beyond the pandemic: vaccinating, social distancing and self-testing

As we near the endemic stage, here is a 3-step robust guide on how to stay safe with the ever evolving tools to fight covid-19.

Diagnostics | Mar. 10, 2022

2020 started with a total lockdown, where social distancing, and mandatory masking were the only available protocols to protect yourself from COVID-19; with time, we have progressed to multiple vaccine production and self-testing kits.


How is social distancing helpful?

As we move cautiously towards normalcy, if you choose to be a part of any event that hosts people together or be present in a place that has several people together, such as airports or a public transport station, please be mindful of the following social distancing measures -

  1. Keep one meter distance from others
  2. Always wear a mask
  3. Avoid spaces that have poor ventilation
  4. Clean your hand or sanitize them frequently

But with COVID-19, there is never a "zero risk" if any gathering is involved, be it small or large. Sometimes, despite taking all precautionary measures, you or a loved one may show symptoms of COVID-19 and may not feel well.

For situations such as these, a quick self-test saves the day or night. 



Rapid self-testing kit

One of the critical points in fighting a pandemic is timely diagnosis. A self-testing kit is a quick, reliable, and accurate way of knowing whether you are COVID-19 positive. A rapid self-test is effortlessly taken in the comfort of your home or anywhere with an easy to use less invasive nasal swab that generates results in 15 minutes.

One of the best ways forward to combat the virus and its variants and prevent further damage is to do everything we can to slow down the progression of this infection. Scientists have predicted that the disease is likely to take on an endemic state in the future with sporadic flare-ups. However, it is still in the pandemic phase, making testing, vaccination, and social distancing our top priority.


How will the vaccine help in fighting the virus?

The central role of the vaccine is to teach your body's immune system to quickly and safely recognise the virus and block it before it causes any disease.

There are now several vaccines available in India and globally for the COVID-19 virus since the mass vaccination drive that started as early as January 2021. Despite having high efficacy, COVID-19 vaccines are not 100% effective, just like any other vaccine. However, if you are offered the chance to get vaccinated, the benefits and pros of getting vaccinated outweigh the chances of it not being 100% effective:

  1. Your body develops an immune response against the SARS-Cov-2 virus and helps you fight the virus in cases of exposure.
  2. Developed immunity reduces the risk of acquiring the illness and its complications.

Now that you’re fully vaccinated, what’s next?

Should we continue taking precautions now that we are vaccinated? Short answer: yes, we must.

Data from various countries highlights that breakthrough infections are expected. The vaccination can  mitigate the severity of illness/symptoms and hospitalizations, it does not eliminate the risk of infection. It is, also, essential to note that immunity gradually increases after the first fourteen days of the doses; and if the vaccine is divided into two doses, it is crucial to finish both doses.

As vaccinations become widespread, in addition to social distancing and masking, testing becomes an essential tool in COVID-19 response that may enable us to return to everyday life. There is a constant change in vaccination rates, infection rates, and level of public health awareness, but what's consistent is the need to quickly find out if you are COVID-19 positive or not. More so, because schools and offices are reopening, and new variants are spreading as people interact more. Testing will always be the first line of defense against this virus. The more you test, the more efficiently you will be able to deal with the virus in time.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is for awareness and education. Please consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before self-testing and diagnosing. 

Follow advisory guidance from local authorities on COVID-19. Self-test kit for screening purposes only. Results should not be considered final. All symptomatic individuals who test negative by RAT should immediately get tested by RTPCR and follow the ICMR/MoH&FW home isolation protocol while awaiting the RT PCR test result. Also, follow advisory/guidance from local authorities on appropriate Covid-19 behavior. 

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