COVID-19 Handbook

About COVID-19

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that mainly attacks the lungs. It is transmitted through droplets created from sneezing and coughing from those infected. The virus enters the body via the nose, mouth and eyes. After acute COVID-19 illness, recovered patients may continue to report wide variety of signs and symptoms including fatigue, body ache, cough, sore throat, difficulty in breathing, etc. A holistic approach is required for follow up care and well-being of all post-COVID recovering patients.
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  • What are the most commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19?

    • Continuous cough
    • Sputum production
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite/taste/smell
    • Fatigue
    • Shortness of breath
    • Muscle aches

    Some people may require hospitalization to treat these symptoms.

  • When to contact a doctor?

    Monitor your symptoms regularly. if you get one of the following,reach out to a doctor/ medical assistance immediately:

    • Worsening shortness of breath
    • Chest pain
    • A new or returning fever/high grade fever
    • Confusion, inability of eat/drink
    • Worsening ability to concentrate

    It might get more difficult to do the things you are normally able to do, such as housework, having a wash, getting dressed or walking up and down the stairs.Most symptoms resolve on their own with time. Other require patience and efforts from your side. Complete recovery may take longer time.

  • When can I resume my office duty?

    You can resume your work routine after:

    • At least 17 days since you first experienced symptoms
    • You have recovered from symptoms and regained energy levels
  • I was not tested again after the first COVID positive test - do I need to worry that I may still be positive and infect others?

    Someone who has completed quarantine or has been released from isolation is not in the infective period and does not pose a risk of infection to other people and does not need to be tested again.

  • Can I get re-infected with COVID-19?

    Most people who are infected with the COVID-19 virus, whether or not they have symptoms, produce antibodies (proteins that fight infections) and fighter cells. For those recovered, the chances of reinfection appear to be very low in the first three months after the initial infection. And it's possible that even after that, the low levels of antibodies may be able to protect against reinfection.

  • Can people without symptoms transmit the virus?

    Yes, infected people can transmit the virus even when they don’t have symptoms. This is why it is important that all people who are infected are identified by testing, isolated, and, depending on the severity of their disease, receive medical care. These measures break the chain of transmission.

  • Can I get COVID infection without ever being in close contact of a COVID positive person?

    Yes, you can. Recent studies indicate that COVID can spread through tiny droplets that remain suspended in the air for long. In closed spaces with inadequate ventilation, a COVID positive person can leave such tiny droplets hanging in the air which can be circulated by the air-conditioning systems. Hence, wearing a mask at all times is important.

  • How can we use air conditioning safely at home?

    • A temperature between 24-30 degree ‘ C should be maintained while operating ACs at home.
    • While, a relative humidity level of 40% to 70% is considered to be the most suitable as it decreases problems from pathogens.Recirculation of cool air by room air conditioners, must be accompanied by outdoor air intake through slightly open windows and exhaust by natural exfiltration.
    • Centralized air conditioning should be avoided if infected and non infected persons live in the same house. Individual air conditioning units should be used in separate rooms.
  • Can we use room coolers (evaporative coolers)?

    • Yes, you can. Evaporative coolers must draw air from outside to ensure good ventilation.
    • Evaporative cooler tanks must be kept clean and disinfected and the water drained and refilled frequently.
    • Windows must be kept open to release humid air.
    • Portable evaporative coolers that do not draw outdoor air are not recommended, since their cooling reduces with humidity rising inside the space.

FAQs on COVID-19 Vaccine for Children (15 to 18 years of age)

  • Why should children between 15 and 18 years of age get vaccinated for COVID-19?

    Children (between 15-18 years) are as likely to be infected with COVID-19 as adults and can get sick from COVID-19, spread COVID-19 to others. In children, there is an additional risk of developing serious, though rare complication like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) - a condition in which different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children account for 1.5% of all COVID hospitalizations. Also, children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared with children without underlying medical conditions.

  • Is it mandatory for children to take the vaccine?

    Vaccination for COVID-19 is voluntary. However, it is advisable to receive the complete schedule of COVID-19 vaccine for protecting oneself and limiting the spread of the disease.

  • Should children be tested for COVID by RT PCR or antigen, before taking the vaccine?

    No, there is no requirement for such testing. However, if there is suspicion of acute COVID illness, then testing might be done or as advised by the child specialist.

  • What is the registration process advised by Government of India for COVID-19 vaccination in children?

    The process is as follows:

    • All those aged 15 years or more will be able to register on Co-WIN. More specifically, all those whose birth year is 2007 or before, shall be eligible.
    • Beneficiaries can self-register, online through an existing account on Co-WIN or can also register by creating a new account through a unique mobile number. This facility is available for all eligible citizens presently.
    • Such beneficiaries can also be registered onsite by the verifier/vaccinator in facilitated registration mode.
    • Appointments can be booked online or onsite (walk-in).
    • For such beneficiaries, option for vaccination would only be available for Covaxin as this is the only vaccine with EUL for the age-group 15-18.

    Some people may require hospitalization to treat these symptoms.

  • Does one have a choice of the vaccine that children (aged 15-18 years) will receive?

    Option for vaccination would be Covaxin, as this is the only vaccine with EUL (emergency use listing) for the age-group 15-18 years.

  • Is COVAXIN safe for children between 15 to 18 years of age?

    Option for vaccination would be Covaxin, as this is the only vaccine with EUL (emergency use listing) for the age-group 15-18 years.

  • Is COVAXIN safe for children between 15 to 18 years of age?

    A Phase II/III, open-label study was conducted in healthy volunteers in three age groups, 2-6 years, 6-12 years and 12-18 years, with 175 subjects in each group. Each participant was administered two doses of Covaxin (6 µg/ 0.5 mL) on 0-28 days. Based on the data provided by the company to the Special Expert Committee, the vaccine was granted EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) by the Government of India.

  • What is the dose schedule of the Covaxin vaccine under the national vaccination program?

    A Phase II/III, open-label study was conducted in healthy volunteers in three age groups, 2-6 years, 6-12 years and 12-18 years, with 175 subjects in each group. Each participant was administered two doses of Covaxin (6 µg/ 0.5 mL) on 0-28 days. Based on the data provided by the company to the Special Expert Committee, the vaccine was granted EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) by the Government of India.

  • What technology has been used in development of Covaxin vaccine in India?

    Covaxin vaccine, manufactured by the Bharat Biotech, is a whole-Virion Inactivated Corona Virus vaccine.

  • What is the composition of the Covaxin vaccine?

    Composition of Covaxin includes inactivated Corona Virus, Aluminium Hydroxide Gel, TLR 7/8 agonist, 2-Phenoxyethanol and Phosphate Buffered Saline.

  • What are expected immediate and delayed side effects of Covaxin?

    Some mild symptoms may occur such as injection site pain, headache, fatigue, fever, body ache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, dizziness-giddiness, tremor, sweating, cold, cough and injection site swelling. No other vaccine-related adverse effects have been reported in adults.

  • What should be done to minimize the adverse effects of this vaccine?

    In case of minor adverse effects such as injection site pain, tenderness, malaise, pyrexia, etc., paracetamol tablet / syrup may be used to alleviate the symptoms. If there is swelling at the injection site, a cold compress can be applied.

  • Will children need to use mask/other COVID appropriate precautions after receiving the vaccine?

    Yes, it is necessary that everyone who has received the COVID vaccine should continue to follow COVID appropriate behaviour. It’s necessary to wear mask, maintain social distancing and hand hygiene, even after vaccination.

  • If a child is having fever, cough or any acute illness – should one go ahead with vaccination?

    In children with acute illnesses, the vaccination may be postponed till clinical recovery. Advice by a paediatrician is necessary for the same. Please discuss with a child specialist for clarity.

  • Is vaccination necessary for children who have recovered from COVID?

    It is advisable to receive the complete dose of the vaccine irrespective of the past history of infection as it will help in developing a strong immune response. However, COVID-19 vaccination should be deferred by 3 months after recovery.

  • Can children who have heart disease/cancer/liver disease/ neurological issue etc., safely take this vaccine?

    Overall, the vaccine is safe and efficacious in adults with co-morbidity. However, if you are concerned for any specific reason, please consult your child specialist. On the other hand, children with high risk, will benefit from COVID vaccine as it reduces the risk of severe COVID disease and death.

  • Should children who suffer from bleeding disorders like 'haemophilia' be vaccinated?

    Such children should take the vaccine under the supervision of a child specialist. Do inform the vaccinator of the issue before getting vaccinated.

  • If a child has low immunity, what should be done?

    Covaxin does not have any live virus and therefore individuals with immune issues can get the vaccine safely. However, the vaccine may not be as effective in them. Please inform the child specialist or vaccinator of this issue. They will guide you.

  • What are the contraindications to COVID-19 vaccine - Covaxin?

    Please mention the following contraindications with vaccinator before vaccine administration:

    • If there has been immediate or delayed-onset anaphylaxis or allergic reaction requiring hospitalization to vaccines or injectable therapies, pharmaceutical products, food-items and insect sting etc.
    • Family with history of anaphylactic or allergic reaction to a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine or its ingredients.
    • A suspected or confirmed case of thromboembolic phenomenon following first dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccine in family.

    Decision to vaccinate would be taken by the child specialist on case basis.

  • When should the vaccine be deferred for a while?

    In case a child had lab test proven SARS-2 COVID-19 illness, COVID-19 vaccination should be deferred by 3 months after recovery. Children with any serious general illness requiring hospitalization should also wait for 4-8 weeks before getting COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Can Non-COVID-19 vaccines be co-administered with COVID vaccines?

    If required, COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines may be separated by an interval of at least 14 days. However, if a person seeks emergency care due to injury/accident and had received COVID-19 vaccine in less than 14 days, tetanus injection may be provided.

    The IAP (Indian Academy of Paediatrics) recommends administering currently available COVID-19 vaccine and other scheduled childhood vaccines, either simultaneously or at any interval between them.

  • When should one seek medical attention after vaccination of the child?

    You should seek medical attention after vaccination if your child has:

    • symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, a fast heartbeat, or if your child collapses
    • chest pain, pressure or discomfort, irregular heartbeat, skipped beats or ‘fluttering’, fainting, shortness of breath, pain with breathing
    • new or unexpected symptoms, or if you are worried about a potential side effect
    • an expected side effect of the vaccine that has not gone away after a few days, like headache, fever or chills.
    1. Have you had a severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis, trouble breathing) to any vaccine or injectable therapy, or a history of anaphylaxis due to any cause? Yes No
    2. Have you had a severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis, trouble breathing) to any component of a COVID-19 vaccine, including lipid nanoparticles or polyethylene glycol (PEG)? Yes No
    3. Have you received convalescent plasma or monoclonal/polyclonal antibody infusions for COVID-19 within the past 90 days? Yes No
    4. Are you currently sick? For example, are you currently experiencing fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, etc.? Yes No
    5. Do you have a bleeding disorder or are you taking a blood thinner? Yes No
    6. Have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 3 months? Yes No
    7. Have you been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in adults or children in the last 90 days? (If you answer yes to this question, it is recommended you consult with your physician prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine) Yes No
    8. Have you ever been diagnosed with myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart)? Yes No
    9. Does your child have a weakened immune system (immunocompromise) or any immune disorders? Yes No
    10. Was the kid recently admitted in hospital for any illness? Yes No
    If you answered Yes to any of questions 1 to 10, your child may still be able to receive the Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine, however a prescription from child specialist will be needed, to discuss the best timing of vaccination and whether any additional precautions are needed.