“As a dentist, there is risk of Covid infection as we deal with saliva and aerosols during dental procedures and hence it is better to be protected,” said Nirmal. “In addition, with me being a kidney recipient twice, and on immunosuppressant medication, I’m even more vulnerable. I consulted doctors and they said the Covid vaccine does not interfere with the drugs that I am on. Covid is here to stay and the vaccine is a necessity.”
Nirmal heads the department of prosthodontics at Theerthankar Mahaveer Dental College and Research Centre in Moradabad. He took the vaccine on January 16, the day the nationwide drive was launched.
Nirmal underwent the first kidney transplant in 2008 and his mother was the donor. In 2014, symptoms of renal failure resurfaced. From 2015 to 2018, he was on dialysis and in March 2018, he underwent kidney transplant for the second time, through a cadaver donor.
Like all others, Nirmal admits, he too initially had doubts about taking the vaccine. “I went ahead with the vaccination after thorough consultation with experts in the field. The vaccine does not interfere with the medicines renal patients like me take and does not aggravate comorbidities,” said Nirmal, adding that he has not experienced any side-effects so far.
Nirmal’s talk post-vaccination is now getting traction on social media pages. “Dr Nirmal taking the vaccine is an encouragement for many,” said Sundar.
Nirmal said the perception among kidney patients and organ recipients who have not been infected is that they are safe and it is better without the vaccine. “During the lockdown, when several parts of India reported increasing Covid cases, everyone was at home. But now, everyone is out for work or studies. That’s why there is a need to take the vaccine and be safe,” he explained.
Most dialysis patients are on heparin, an anticoagulatory drug, and caution needs to be taken, said Sundar. “Heparin must be avoided a day prior to the vaccination, on the day of vaccination and a day after that. So, for three days in all. Those who are on heparin should avoid any intramuscular injection on the days of dialysis, not just Covid vaccine. Any kidney patient must consult their doctor before going for Covid vaccination.”