- How destructive the COVID-19 is need no further elaboration as humankind has experienced debilitating effects all through the year 2020 and continues to reel from the impact even as the year enters the third month in few days. When the pandemic first made its presence felt, uncertainty and fear of the unknown ruled the roost leaving the countries grappling to ensure humanity does not get overwhelmed under the burden. Every concerned had one prayer on the lips i.e. earnestly hoping the scientific community to invent an effective vaccine or two to combat the menace of the dreaded virus at the earliest to mitigate the loss of precious lives and livelihood.
PC: Dr. David Rhew
- Huge applause is due to the scientific community who burnt the midnight oil to invent several vaccines in a record time of fewer than ten months since the virus was declared as a pandemic. Prayers answered, the drive to vaccinate people to shield from the vagaries of the virus should have assumed war-time-like priority for the government authorities to press ahead with intent. Few of the developed and developing countries did achieve success in inventing the vaccine and it was assumed the people too would be keen to get themselves inoculated when the vaccine is made available. Unfortunately, what is unfolding is hard to fathom looking at the poor response.
- The Union Health Ministry was quickly off the block with a comprehensive plan to undertake the gargantuan task of immunization by laying out well-thought-out plans covering healthcare workers, frontline workers, and the elderly with comorbidities in a phased manner. Things would have been uneventful if everything went as per the envisaged plan. As is its wont, technical glitches surrounding the app created to enable ease of administering a vaccine to the deserving encountered huge challenges right from day one. Piling on the challenges, tremendous apprehensions, and misinformation about the vaccine has further developed roadblocks as well.
PC: Bernard J. Wolfson
- There is no harm in reiterating the importance of dissemination of information related to the vaccines including the possible after-effects, even mild or otherwise, for the consumption of the general public intended to prepare for the immunization program in the right earnest. There is no denying that few deaths have indeed are reported across the country which may not be directly related to the vaccine as mentioned by the health authorities. However, rumors associated with those deaths have certainly gained traction over the last few weeks leading to extremely low turnout for the vaccination drive from the identified categories.
- Therefore, it is incumbent on the part of the health authorities at both center and state levels to speed up the process of vaccination to extend the benefits to the maximum possible categories of people. Most worryingly, there are signs of the second wave visible in few states already and as such, creating a conducive atmosphere by dispelling apprehensions immediately is par for the course move. The Prime Minister along with state Chief Ministers should lead the campaign by not only getting inoculated themselves to send across the message loud and clear but also alleviate people’s concern by presenting a welcome optics of safe/secure vaccine as well. The time to act is now.