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Over the past several months, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, there has been a shift in global attention to better healthcare practices. People have realised the need for ‘being healthy’’ and have started to look at different aspects of their health, which they can improve. While it is true that certain factors like genetics, sex, and age cannot be modified; however, there are plenty of other health factors that can be modified with guidance. Naturopathy fits perfectly into this vision, which emphasises mainly on the prevention of disease and maintenance of good health. Naturopathy works on the principle that “the human body has the ability to heal naturally.” The unique patient-centric approach adopted by naturopathy, which considers physical, psychological, social, and environmental factors, can ensure a better quality of life and reduce the burden on our healthcare system.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO)estimates, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will lead to 55 million loss of lives by 2030. It is estimated that in India, every year, around 5.8 million people die from NCDs. With high costs of treatment, along with long waiting lists, and with a limited budget causing strain on society, a preventative system for NCDs may play a more prominent role in addressing the shortcomings over the coming years.

So, how’s naturopathy going to shape up over the next decade or so and play a role in the future of healthcare delivery? Let’s take a look.


The on-going Covid-19 pandemic has ascertained one thing; conventional medicine isn’t enough to cater to the healthcare needs of the rising population of India. A holistic preventative and precautionary based approach is required to create a sustainable healthcare model.

Unlike modern pharmaceutical interventions that focus more on providing symptomatic relief, naturopathic treatments aim to treat the disease’s root cause by making use of non-invasive therapies such as lifestyle counselling, clinical nutrition, various detoxifying regimens, and botanical medicine. It is expected that over time, this Naturopathic patient-centric approach translates to fewer hospital visits, lower medical expenses, and better lives. With recent developments like the WHO’s meeting with the AYUSH Ministry to review documents on developing standardised terminologies and benchmark documents of practice for traditional medicine, it is expected that there would be a shift in attention taken to promote and integrate Naturopathy with modern medicine. The government recently announced several initiatives to support and promote AYUSH, like providing subsidies and soft-loans for setting up private AYUSH clinics and hospitals, creating AYUSH wings in railway and defence hospitals; and establishing institutes to teach and research in AYUSH.

However, considering the mixed fraught relationship of alternative medicine with modern medicine, true integration can only happen if meaningful collaborations and cross-learnings are involved between these two systems on equal terms complementing each other. An integrated framework would be required to bring the two systems closer while providing some autonomy for each of them.


The issuance of telemedicine guidelines by the Ministry of Health and Fmily Welfare (MoHFW) has led to a surge in teleconsultations throughout the country. Though telemedicine activities started way back in 1999 in India, it is only after the recent Covid-19 pandemic that telemedicine’s true potential was realised. With everything accessible at the touch of the finger in the digital age, virtual medical treatment ensures increased contact with a doctor, easily accessible care, and reduced expenses. Though specific treatment regimens may not be possible through telemedicine, those who are housebound or have disabilities can benefit immensely through telemedicine consultations. It is becoming more evident that the continued adaption to virtual care services would be a reality of the future to promote human wellness anytime, anywhere.


In the 2018 Union Budget, the fund allotted to the AYUSH Ministry for the development and research of alternative medicines was increased by 13% to Rs 1,626.37 crore. Strong government support has also led to an increase in graduate and post-graduate institutes to impart the study of AYUSH medicine across the country. With increased public awareness about the alternative system of medicine, there is a rising demand in the market for alternate sources of healing. Several new start-ups are expected to come up with holistic treatments and preventive offerings to tap this expanding market, especially from cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, etc., which are already making their presence felt with their holistic healthcare packages and products.


The recent Covid-19 pandemic has created a desperate need to overhaul unhealthy lifestyles among millions of people. They are more in search of preventive ways of healthcare that emphasises natural treatment and explores related symptoms holistically. The growing demand for a better solution serves as a perfect catalyst for the alternative medicine industry to undergo an unparalleled boom. However, there is still a dire need for regulatory and legal reforms before it can turn into reality in the due process of integration of the alternative system of medicine with modern medicine in an effort to make the best of healthcare delivery systems.

The writer is senior chairman of Jindal Naturecure Institute.

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Health & Wellness




Cancer of the cervix is a major public health problem. With 527,624 new cases of cervical cancer added every year and to this, India contributes about 122,844 cases. India accounts for about one-third of the cervical cancer-related deaths, with women facing a 1.6% cumulative risk of developing cervical cancer and 1.0% cumulative death risk from cervical cancer. In India, it is the second most common cancer after breast cancer and leading cause of cancer-related deaths. In low- and middle-income countries, due to poor awareness and availability of preventative measures, cervical cancer is often identified at advance stages of the disease. Also, treatment facilities of such late-stage diseases (for example, surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy) may be very limited, resulting in a higher rate of death from disease in these countries.


HPV infection is considered to be the most important risk factor for cervical cancer, the other factors for HPV persistence and development of cervical cancers include:

• Immunocompromised individuals such as those living with HIV are 6 times more likely to have HPV infections and more progression to pre-cancer and cancer

• Co-infection with sexually transmitted agents, such as Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and herpes simplex

• Multiparity (number of babies born) and young age at first birth.

• Smoking

• Multiple sex partners.


Cervical cancer is by far the most common HPV -related disease. Most people get infected shortly after the onset of sexual activity. Two HPV types (16 and 18) cause 70% of cervical cancer and pre-cancerous cervical lesions.

HPV is sexually transmitted, but penetrative sex is not must for the transmission even skin to skin contact is sufficient for transmission. HPV infections usually clear up without any active intervention for same, but a small number of infections can persist and progress to cervical cancer. HPV infection is also known to be associated with a portion of cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, penis, and oropharynx, which are preventable using similar primary prevention strategies as those for cervical cancer.


HPV is a DNA virus that causes infection and mutation in the epithelium lining, activation of oncogenes and eventually leading to the development of cervical cancer.


Screening is a useful tool for prevention and early detection of disease where it has a high potential for cure. Screening is done for healthy individuals and particularly useful for lesions which take many years to convert into frank disease after onset of infection. Screening is recommended for every woman from aged 21 and regularly afterwards (frequency depends on the screening test used). For women living with immunocompromised status who are sexually active, screening should be done earlier, as soon as they know their HIV status. Screen detected lesions can be treated with help of cryotherapy, thermal ablation and Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedures. Screening tests that are currently available include:

· conventional (Pap) test and liquid-based cytology (LBC)

· Visual inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA)

· HPV DNA testing for high-risk HPV types.

Three globally licensed vaccine, a quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil 4™ marketed by Merck), a non-a valent vaccine (Gardasil 9™ marketed by Merck) and a bivalent vaccine (Cervarix™ marketed by GlaxoSmithKline) are available. Best time for vaccination is between 11 to 12 years of age if missed boys can be vaccinated up to the age of 21 years and girls can be vaccinated up to the age of 26 years. 2 doses of vaccination is sufficient if started < 14 years of age and 3 if started after 14 years of age, vaccination can be considered even up to the age of 45 but with poor results.

Cervical cancer is preventable with effective screening measures and is curable if detected early. Treatment options for invasive cervical cancer is stage-based where surgery is an option for early-stage disease and chemo-radiation for advanced stages of same. Regardless of the threat posed due to cervical cancer, ignorance, and less acceptability of screening as well as of vaccination is a big challenge in the prevention of the disease. The month of January is observed as Cervical cancer awareness month around the world. A multitude of efforts is being made to increase awareness and facilitate screening for early detection of cervical cancer. With a comprehensive approach to prevent, screen and treat, cervical cancer can be eliminated as a public health problem.

The writer is Senior Consultant- Surgical Oncology, HCG Cancer Centre Jaipur.

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Health & Wellness




Studies say that many women delay parenthood until 35 or older because of several social and economic reasons, like reaching for higher-education, establishing career and job pressure. Better methods of contraception, widely and easily available IVF technique also encourage people to stay single and enjoy their independence until a later age.

While it seems miraculous to have a baby at an advanced age by advancement in IVF technology, on the other hand, experts raise the concern of increased maternal health problems ranging from cardiac issues to Breast cancer.

The biological clock is a fact of life, and no one can deny that. Age of a woman is an important factor when it comes to pregnancy. As the age advances, not only fertility reduces but the complications during pregnancy also increase. This phenomenon does not compliment the current trend of aggressively prioritising work and being engulfed in a fast lifestyle.

In today’s time, many women plan pregnancy in their 30s, and beyond. Are there more risks or complications involved with pregnancy and birth as maternal age rises compared to pregnancy in the 20s? To remain healthy throughout pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby, we need to understand the risks associated with advanced age pregnancies.

A problem in Conceiving Naturally

As we are born with a limited number of eggs, their number and quality start reducing in the early 30s and drastically after 35 years of age. Formation of egg in every cycle and its fertilisation also become erratic and difficult. This not only reduces the chances of natural conception but also reduces the chances of a healthy pregnancy with assisted reproduction techniques.

Risk of Chromosomal abnormalities and Birth Defects

Babies born to older mothers have a higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities, spinal cord defects, Down syndrome, mental retardation, and delayed development of milestones.

Early pregnancy Loss or Still Birth

There are increased chances of miscarriages may be because of poor quality egg or genetic defects. Pre-existing medical conditions like high blood pressure, dabetes etc. further increases the risk of miscarriage and intrauterine demise.

High Blood Pressure during pregnancy

A family history of hypertension or genetic predisposition contributes to increased risk of developing high blood pressure with advanced age. Higher the BP goes in pregnancy, more are the complications and health risks to mother and foetus. You may have to get admitted in the hospital to control blood pressure, strict BP monitoring, or may have to terminate the pregnancy before the due date.

Increased Risk of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is more common in older women getting pregnant. Strict blood sugar monitoring and its control throughout pregnancy are important to prevent its complications on the mother and foetus.

Preterm delivery, Growth retardation, Low Birth Weight Babies

Defective placentation, the improper blood supply to the growing foetus and associated medical problems like hypertension and diabetes may result in intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight, and premature delivery. These babies may have brain damage, respiratory and neurological problems, and also delayed development of milestones.

Higher chances of Difficult Labour, delivery by C-Section

Older women have a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications, hence, there are more chances of surgical intervention and baby requiring nursery care.

The writer is Director, Ferticity Fertility Clinics, Delhi.

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Health & Wellness


Technological advancement has helped in the accurate diagnosis and treatment of vertigo and balance disorder effectively.



Vertigo is a feeling of imbalance that can range from intense spinning to a mild unsteadiness on movement. Patients often describe it in different ways like chakkar, imbalance, or difficulty in focusing. It is often due to inner ear problems but may also occur due to disorders of the brain or other systems in the body. Vertigo is quite a common complaint affecting about 15% of the population. Around 180 million people in India have balance and dizziness problems.

Dizziness often is a recurring symptom and may cause the person to lose confidence. Anyone who has suffered from vertigo is familiar with how dreadful the sensation of being dizzy or feeling off-balance is. It affects the ability to perform daily activities and may also cause psychological and emotional stress. Vertigo can impair the reaction time thereby affecting people’s ability to multi-task. This makes people prefer to limit their activities and even become reclusive at times. This is the reason why vertigo sufferers are often anxious or depressed.

Vertigo can occur in all age groups, from a young child to the elderly. Falls due to dizziness in people over 65 years are known to be the leading cause of accidental deaths. Some causes of vertigo-like vestibular migraine run in the family. Post-traumatic dizziness often lasts for long durations after the injuries. Certain medicines called ototoxic drugs (like chloroquine, TB medicines, and some antibiotics like amikacin) can have an adverse effect on the balance system. Sometimes elderly patients and patients on treatment for hypertension may have sudden falls in blood pressure on standing up. This condition is called orthostatic hypotension and can cause a feeling of unsteadiness or blackouts due to the fluctuation in blood supply to the brain.

Vertigo is just a symptom of an underlying disorder and not a disease itself. There are around 40 common diseases affecting the inner ear and brain that cause vertigo. It is important to find the disease-causing vertigo to be able to decide which treatment will be required. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV is one of the most common disorders causing dizziness due to displaced calcium carbonate crystals within the inner ear. Meniere’s Disease is caused by increased inner ear fluid pressure. A vestibular migraine is a form of migraine which affects the balance nerve leading to imbalance. Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis are infections of the inner ear and balance nerve. Thus, there are many disorders that can cause dizziness and it is essential to find which disease is present to be able to treat it.

Different causes of vertigo can present in different ways. Many people have spoken about the distress that they had due to vertigo. Top Australian batsman Steve Smith had said that he has had a ‘bad dose of vertigo’ just before his second one day match against India. The attack was so severe that he was unsure about playing the match. His team doctor Leigh Golding performed the Epley maneuver which involves a series of head and body movements to treat the inner ear disorder called BPPV. This almost magically made vertigo disappear and he scored 100 in just 62 balls!

The vertigo episodes can last for hours with spinning, vomiting, and hearing loss as is seen in Meniere’s disease. It can be present as persistent unsteadiness as is seen in bilateral peripheral vestibulopathy. In BPPV, the spells usually last for less than 30 seconds. Patients with recurrent vertigo often lose their confidence and are scared of travelling alone or driving, wary that they may have a dizzy spell.

Can Vertigo be treated? The emphatic answer here is that vertigo can be treated after a correct diagnosis! People often panic thinking that once they experience the attack of vertigo, they will have to live with it. Many people with vertigo are seen to go undiagnosed even for years and continue to live with this debilitating state only taking medicines to suppress the dizziness. Accurate diagnosis, followed by the correct management program, can help in controlling vertigo and balance disorder effectively.

Now the question arises, how can Vertigo be treated? Vestibular evaluation is required to understand the underlying disorder giving rise to vertigo. Much technological advancement has taken place in the last two decades which has increased our understanding of the functioning of each part of the balance system. These technologies provide physicians with an accurate means to diagnose the cause of vertigo and treat them effectively.

There are specific treatments for different causes of vertigo. For BPPV, various positional maneuvers are recommended (just like Steve Smith was treated with the Epley’s maneuver). The key to the proper treatment of BPPV is identifying the location of the displaced crystal. The correct repositioning maneuver brings the crystal back to its correct position in the inner ear. Vestibular migraine treatment depends on the age and weight of the patient along with any co-morbidities. Vestibular rehabilitation exercises are the mainstay of treatment in vestibular neuritis. Thus, it is obvious that the treatment will be tailored to the underlying disease.

India has made significant progress for correct diagnosis and treatment of vertigo. The treatment requires a multi-disciplinary approach with a detailed history and thorough functional assessment. Specialised technology is used to provide customised medical treatment and vestibular rehabilitation. We often get patients with long-standing vertigo who have been on vestibular suppressants for several years. However, once we diagnose the underlying cause of the disorder, appropriate treatment and vestibular rehabilitation help these patients to become symptom-free, and the drugs are discontinued. It is truly heartening to cure patients who have suffered due to this health condition.

The writer is a Neurotologist and ENT specialist, founder of NeuroEquilibrium, and author of an e-book on Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo(BPPV).

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Health & Wellness


Namita Piparaiya



Depression is a widespread health issue, and it is often triggered by stress, anxiety, or hormonal changes. It results in a low mood, reduced energy, and a general disinterest in life. When untreated, it can have serious health complications including an increased risk of heart disease. Therefore, one must immediately seek professional help and build a lifestyle that can help support their recovery. Meditation is one such tool with a vast number of benefits and is helpful in cases of depression.

Here are a few techniques that can help:


Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment, in the here and now. These meditation practices often begin with breath awareness as that helps keep the mind in the moment. In Zen wisdom, happiness is found neither in the future nor in the past. Happiness is only in the present. And a very effective way to anchor our attention to the present is by focussing on the process of breathing in and out. Every time the mind drifts away, you bring it back to your breath. This retrains the brain and teaches us how we can ‘choose’ what we pay attention to.


Visualisation is a beautiful way to replace negative visions with positive, soothing ones. They can work as vision boards to visualise your future, to create more positive outcomes. These can be very helpful for those suffering from fear or anxiety as their mind naturally races towards the worst possible outcomes. They help the body relax and have even been found effective in reducing pain.


Body scanning is the method of focussing on one body part at a time and relaxing it consciously. Mental awareness and breath are used to gently ease the tension until the entire body has been scanned and relaxed. Yoga Nidra is the foundational body scanning practice that effectively improves our mood, reducing anxiety. It helps in recovery from any emotional distress.


When done with breath awareness and followed by Pranayama, traditional Yoga practices help elevate our mood and even prepare us for meditation. Yoga Asanas help us feel refreshed and energised. Pranayama or breathing exercises then help us integrate our mind and channel it away from various distractions. Now, the mind becomes ready for deep meditation. It becomes a lot easier to stay focussed on the breath or a mantra or any other object of meditation. In some traditions, it is believed that practicing energising breathing practices like Kapalbhati can help fight depression.

All these techniques help because they teach us how to deal with stress and influence our brain’s functioning. Regular and consistent meditation practice makes us less impulsive and less fearful because it physically alters our grey matter. It helps us change our thinking. While meditation is not a replacement for medical support, it should be an integral part of our lives to prevent and manage mental health issues.

The writer is yoga and Ayurveda lifestyle specialist and founder of Yoganama.

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Health & Wellness




After a year since the pandemic began, the entire world continues to deal with cascading effects on human lives. As a big relief, the moment we have all been waiting for is here. India kicked off the world’s largest vaccination drive for Covid-19 on January 16, 2021. Healthcare and frontline workers will be a priority for vaccination and initially, nearly three crore doctors, healthcare and frontline workers would be inoculated. Vaccine administration to 1.3 billion people in India is a mammoth task and digital platforms can play an integral part in the entire process of its implementation.

To start with, digital support would be required for registration, vaccination centre selection, slot booking, beneficiary profile, vaccination certification, and recording e-Health records. Through digital interventions, we would also be able to manage adverse effects, feedback, and grievance redressal mechanism. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning would be helpful in mining real-time data to assess the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines and adverse patient monitoring.

Realising the importance of digital disruption for the smooth function of the vaccination programme, India had developed an Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) in 2015. The network was initially deployed in 12 states. Now, for Covid vaccine, the Centre has launched CO-WIN, another digital platform, to plan, implement, and monitor the drive. The digital platform would facilitate real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature, and individualised tracing of beneficiaries. CO-WIN is an extension of the government’s eVIN and it digitises vaccine stocks and monitors the temperature of the cold chain through a smartphone application. It supports better vaccine logistics management at cold chain points.

The CO-WIN is an app designed by the Government of India, to enable citizens to self-register for the Covid-19 vaccination processes, initially will be accessible to healthcare workers and frontline warriors alone and will be open to usage for the general public within a month. Along with healthcare providers and the Covid warriors, the app will be effectively used by Central and State Governments to implement the inoculation drive. It provides much-needed information in bulk for healthcare workers. CO-WIN app would provide beneficiary details and update vaccination status. Digital interventions in the world’s largest vaccination campaign would surely be replicated globally.

Digital platforms are also geared up to support providers to manage post-vaccination adverse events in a better way. Hence, not only vaccination but digital platforms would strengthen the entire continuum of care in post Covid period. Healthtech service providers are ready to provide support as the vaccination for Covid-19 would be a long term event. As per the official schedule, Phase II of the vaccination would continue till December 2022, when the rest of the adult population nearly 50 crore would be covered. Healthtech companies such as DayToDay Health (DTDHI) and many more are all set to collaborate with the government and expecting the issuance of guidelines for leveraging CO-WIN app which would enable them to build on and build around the app. Healthtech service providers would invest in a strong analytics engine for not only tracking purposes, but also for planning and predictive analytics related to prioritisation of beneficiaries, areas to be targeted, reduce drop-outs, and improve vaccine efficacy across target segments.

The writer is CEO and founder of DaytoDay Health.

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Health & Wellness


The vaccination drive against novel coronavirus has begun and the first ones to get the jabs were those who have been in the forefront in fighting the pandemic. They received the first shot of vaccination on 16 January and shared their experience with us.



The pan-India massive vaccination drive against Covid-19 began from January 16. Hospitals had prepared for it beforehand, they followed guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health for the vaccination process, trained the team and did dry runs, some hospitals formed Adverse Effects committee, set up Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) room or made special arrangements to deal with side effects. For a smooth process, each hospital has a pre-vaccination waiting area, vaccination room and observation area. Taking a leap of faith, many healthcare workers including doctors and medical staff from hospitals across the country came forward to get the vaccination dose. They are urging that if given a chance, people should get the vaccine shot. Scientists have worked hard for the vaccine and doctors are leading by example so people should not hesitate to go for the vaccination.

Talking about the vaccination drive, Dr Shreevidya Venkatraman, senior consultant-Internal Medicine, MGM Healthcare, Chennai said, “Covid-19 is here to stay. Covid cases are less but as seen in Europe, the peak is expected in March/April. Vaccination against Covid-19 is our best option. Safety and efficacy of the Covid vaccines have been proven. Mild malaise, fever, and local pain may be expected. So far we have not seen any major hypersensitivity reactions after the administration of the Covid vaccines.” Health professionals including doctors, who were vaccinated at Manipal Hospital, Dwarka, Delhi, said that they are upbeat as the final assault on coronavirus has begun and this will create a strong safeguard against the infectious disease. Dr Pankaj Dhamija, Centre head, Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road, Mumbai said, “The news of vaccination has certainly given hopes to people. We are proud to be a part of this vaccination drive and committed to working round-the-clock for the betterment of the patients. Coronavirus vaccination will protect people by creating an antibody (immune system) response without getting sick by the virus.”

Doctors and healthcare workers share their first-hand experience with us about receiving the first shot of Covid-19 vaccine:

It is a moment of victory for the war against Coronavirus. I was excited and eagerly waiting for these vaccines to be made available. When this initiation of vaccination news arrived I was upbeat and after going through all the information I readied myself to get vaccinated. The process was well organised and meticulous. I took the first dose of Covisheild vaccine at 10.30 am on Saturday at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre. I was made comfortable and all the information was given. I am doing fine and feeling confident.

— Dr Gururaj Sangothimath, spine surgeon, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj, Delhi

There was certainly an apprehension about taking the vaccine initially in terms of efficacy and reaction. There were misconceptions and after discussions with doctors, everyone came forward to take the vaccine jab. We were made to wait for 30 minutes post the vaccination for any adverse effects after which I experienced mild nausea and gastritis. I was completely fine after an hour of vaccination.

— Dr Prakash K.N., Chief of Medical Services, Columbia Asia Hospital Hebbal, Bengaluru

It feels good to be the first person to be vaccinated in the vaccination site at BLK Super Speciality Hospital. It was just like any other shot that one would have taken. We were really looking forward to this and the process was pretty smooth.

— Dr Sandeep Nayar, Senior Director, Centre for Chest and Respiratory Disease, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Pusa Road, Delhi

I am glad that I was the first one to get the vaccination at Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital. I did not feel any sign of anxiety or reaction. Everyone should get the vaccine shot and even after the vaccination, people must follow the safety guidelines issued by the government.

— Ashutosh Chaturvedi, Emergency Nursing Head, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, Delhi

I was the first one to get vaccinated at Aakash Healthcare. I was vaccinated at 11:10 am on Saturday and was told to sit for 30 minutes to check if I have got any adverse effects of the vaccine. The government officials assigned were constantly checking with me for any side effects. I had no side effects in my body and I am fine since I got the vaccine shot. I started working after getting vaccination and not experienced any problem. I am having no interruptions due to the vaccine in walking, eating, or working. This is a very appreciable step that the government has taken for healthcare workers.

— Anita Ryder, Support Services Department, Aakash Healthcare Super Specialty Hospital, Dwarka, Delhi

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