IIM employee Maria Chugunova on the importance of vaccination: “The risks from vaccination and disease are not comparable”

23 June 2021
IIM employee Maria Chugunova on the importance of vaccination: “The risks from vaccination and disease are not comparable”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to gain momentum, the government is ramping up the measures to protect against the disease across the country. The only way to save your life and stop living in constant restrictions is to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Maria Chugunova, leading specialist of the Marketing Department of the RANEPA Institute of Industry Management (IIM), who had a chance to get vaccinated early this year, speaks on why it is still worth getting the shot, what the consequences might be, and what the procedure looks like. 

— Maria, can you tell me why it is worth getting vaccinated? 

— Because it is the only way to create collective immunity, and finally put this story to an end. Because getting sick might mean getting some serious consequences for your body, spending a lot of money on treatment, and infecting your loved ones, to top it all. Because the risks from vaccination and disease are not comparable. Because the third wave with the “new payload” is coming, and even if the infection had only given you a mild discomfort a year ago, you cannot be sure that this time it would go smoothly as well. 

— What prompted you to get vaccinated against coronavirus? 

— My parents are old, and I was very nervous thinking that I could get mild or asymptomatic disease and they would catch it from me. Also, it just so happened that we travelled a lot in 2020, and there is no way to control your viral load in transport. Especially in airplanes and buses with assigned seats. It is very frustrating to have another two-hour journey and have a person sitting behind you without a mask or a handkerchief and coughing up their lungs. Third, I was tired of all the restrictions because of the pandemic, and I wanted to feel like a normal person again. 

On January 29, I went to Invitro clinic to check for antibodies, as two colleagues who were sitting right next to me at the office had fallen ill, and I was hoping that at least I had some antibody count. On the evening of January 30, I found out that I had no antibodies at all. The next morning I was standing in line for a vaccination at the Solaris Mall. 

— What vaccine did you get? What does this process usually look like and what are some important things to know? 

— I got Sputnik V (Gam-COVID-Vac), which was the only option at the time. It takes about an hour — you fill out the form, talk to the doctor, have your blood pressure measured, get a shot, sit for 15 minutes and you’re free to go. My parents were vaccinated, too. It is best to get vaccinated before the weekend, because immediately after the vaccination you feel fine, but 12 hours later you may get a fever. In January, there was a waiting list for vaccinations at the polyclinic, you had to make an appointment two weeks in advance. Now, apparently, there will be a similar situation, so if you do not want to waste your time, go to a mobile vaccination point — there are the same doctors as in the clinic, there is no difference. 

What else is important to know? Please filter information from the internet — do not forget there is a fairly high percentage of people who intentionally publish provocative information and posts. I was lucky in that respect — when I got vaccinated, there were no hysterical and fake reviews like “I just got vaccinated and I got so sick — fever, stabbing pain in the side, mental confusion! I’m dying, goodbye!”, with a coy response the next day “Oh no, it’s all over, I’m fine now”. 

— How did your body react to the vaccine? 

— After the first shot, my temperature rose to 38.4°C (101°F) that night, but it felt fine overall. After the second shot it rose to 37°C (98.6°F), but I felt drowsy, like when I got a flue as a kid. I had to cancel all my plans for the day and stay in bed, watching TV shows. By the way, if you are a very active person, this is a great excuse to give yourself a proper lazy day off. 

My next step is to get tested for antibodies at the end of the summer, and if there aren’t many left, I’ll get revaccinated. I have full confidence that by getting vaccinated against coronavirus I saved not only my life, but also those of my loved ones and colleagues. 


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