Can TB Patients Take COVID Vaccine?

20/03/2021

The year 2021 has indeed brought a ray of hope into this world with the COVID-19 vaccine that is seen to put an end to the pandemic. Although the hopes with the vaccines are really high, there still are some speculations that the vaccines may not be safe for some people, especially for those with certain underlying conditions such as tuberculosis (TB). However, it is not entirely true. The vaccines developed in the country are safe and effective, and can be taken by TB patients. Let us understand in-depth about the various aspects associated with the two conditions and the vaccines.

The Similarities

Both COVID-19 and tuberculosis are infectious diseases that primarily attack the lungs and have similar symptoms such as cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Those who are already affected by TB and get infected by the coronavirus may have severe complications and poorer treatment outcomes, especially if the treatment for TB is interrupted. Having said that, it does not mean that TB patients are more susceptible to contracting the virus. The changes of a TB patient and a healthy person contracting the virus are the same, however, the complications are more severe in TB patients as compared to a healthy person. Therefore, TB patients must take precautions as advised by the healthcare authorities and must consider being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Benefits Of Getting Vaccinated

Not only in TB patients, but the benefits of getting vaccinated remain the same in nearly everyone. The vaccines are formulated to produce protection against the disease, by developing a strong immune response to the virus. This also means that the risks of developing the illness and the complications associated with it will also reduce. The built immunity helps fight the virus if exposed to it, and restricts it from affecting you or becoming active in your body.

Getting vaccinated is not only beneficial for an individual, but also for the entire community. This is because if you are protected from getting infected by the virus, the chances of you infecting someone else are extremely low.

What Is Stopping TB Patients From Getting Vaccinated?

Being diagnosed and coping with TB itself can be difficult, anxiety-inducing and cause a lot of worries. In addition, the uncertainty of the new virus and the rumors surrounding it can make things all the more difficult to deal with. Exposure to wrong and fake information is one of the major reasons why people are skeptical about getting vaccinated, another reason can be considered the lack of trust in Indian-made commodities, including the vaccine. However, it is important to understand that vaccines are developed after countless trials and errors, and go through several phases of testing and only when they have cleared all the phases they are available for the use of humans making them safe and effective.

Therefore, there is no reason for you to have second thoughts about getting vaccinated even if you are a person affected by tuberculosis. If your doctor has suggested it, it surely is the best for your health. If you still aren’t quite convinced, you must have an elaborate discussion with your doctor to weigh out the pros and cons of getting vaccinated, depending on your current health condition, so that you can make an informed decision.

Dr Sudhir Prasad
Consultant – Pulmonologist & sleep Medicine

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