Thursday, September 23, 2021

Get vaccinated

Nagaland is testing an average of only 900 people for COVID-19 in a day, which is very less and could be one reason for the low number of COVID cases being detected in the state for some weeks now. The Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court has also taken serious view of the number of people being tested for COVID-19 in the state and has ordered the Government of Nagaland to ramp up testing. According to the Court, “if more people are tested it is more likely that we will see more number of people infected.” At the same time there is an urgent need to ramp up our vaccinations and maintain the behavioral practices for preventing the infection. Even though the numbers of positive cases have come down, COVID is not gone and going by global trends we could be facing another wave soon. Here again it was the Court that spurred our government to act on vaccination. Following the direction of the High Court to complete vaccination of eligible beneficiaries within 3 months, the state government reportedly is now on “war footing mode” to complete total vaccination within three months. Some actions taken by the state government to achieve the vaccination target set by the Court is questionable, and allegedly even unconstitutional, like threatening to enforce ‘no vaccination no salary’ on government employees, as well as directing teachers, both government and private, to get vaccinated, when all along it was made clear that vaccination is voluntary and not to be enforced. Leaving aside government employees and the general populace, at least 9000 health workers were yet to be vaccinated as on July 19 last. In fact when health workers themselves are hesitant to take the vaccine, how can one blame government employees or the public for not getting vaccinated? No wonder, the Court in its order rightly asked the government to carry out awareness campaign, even among health workers, so that full vaccination status can be achieved in the state. And this perhaps is the right way to go to achieve full vaccination instead of threatening employees to get vaccinated. We have all seen the devastation caused by second wave. The fear instilled by the rising number of deaths is not something we can easily forget. What resulted in the devastation that was witnessed during the peak of second wave became the focus of news, or opinion, and of political narratives. But what finally helped us out was the adherence to a slew of safety protocols, and among them vaccination was at the top. As more people got vaccinated the defense against Covid became stronger. Although over 6 lakhs out of over 13.5 lakhs targeted population have been vaccinated till July 19 last, out of which over one lakh have received the required two shots, there is still a long way to go. Right now we have vaccines available at different health centres, and the government is repeatedly asking the people to get inoculated. As the threat of a third wave is still there, people should go for vaccination making it the first thing to do. But unfortunately many of us still behave in naive, if not ignorant, ways. There are no reasons why a person should not get jabbed. People who took the vaccine have not faced any problems. Some odd cases can be explained as rarities, and this is true for any treatment in medical sciences. Doctors, and virology experts have, time and again dispelled these misgivings about vaccination. Political leadership around the globe is consistently emphasizing on vaccination. But sadly there are still some people who buy fake news, and turn away from vaccination without any scientific reason. This way they are not only jeopardizing their own lives, the lives of their families, but also the lives of others. One can only urge (not force) that for the sake of all, beginning one’s own life, go for vaccination as soon as possible! Indeed we cannot slur the facts and ignore the destruction caused by COVID-19. In these challenging times, it is too difficult to tiptoe ourselves and protect from the deadly variants which are rearing their ugly heads again. As of now, getting vaccinated and following COVID appropriate behaviour seems only workable solution to remain safe.