Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Get vaccinated

Last year when the pandemic made the world to come to a total stop, the quantum of knowledge about the virus, its effects, and the way to handle it, was too less. People said all sorts of things about it, and that resulted into compounding the problem. In fact we later had to coin a term for this – Infodemics. So much was put on the media platforms that it was difficult to sift the authentic from the fabricated. Gradually, professional knowledge displaced the rumours, and peoples’ behaviour towards the pandemic started standardizing. In fact when Covid-19 pandemic started last year, everyone presumed the same to be a short lived phenomenon. It took us more than a month to realize the seriousness, and we yielded to a single appropriate solution of lockdown. Despite negative impact on business, livelihood, education and other necessities, lockdown provided a breather for people to get accustomed to an amended lifestyle and for administration to gear up resources for meeting the gigantic challenge. Towards later part of last year, there were subtle indications that the pandemic was gradually getting under control. A year later, although armed with additional research, medicines and vaccines, we are still struggling to control the virus. Several states have already been through two or three waves, with the current onslaught of a fresh surge, which is more severe and fatal. In fact the phase-wise relaxation period saw an increase in Covid cases due to a plethora of reasons, but more so because of disregard for individual preventive measures due to presumed attitude. This was a major contributor, with people across the country joining marriage feasts, political rallies, community gatherings and festivities irrespective of the key norms of wearing masks or maintaining social distance. Sure, there was also the good news of a vaccine being rolled out. But here too the information was so scanty and scattered that a decision to get vaccinated or not, became a very difficult one. People talked so much about the adverse impact of inoculation, and also about the inadequate research having gone into making the vaccine. Sensing all this, the government did try to dispel some wrong perceptions about the vaccine, and enhanced the belief in a common person about the safety of the vaccine. That was the reason that people started getting vaccinated. And this is the time for the healthcare professionals to follow the post vaccination trends keenly, and not allow the vaccination programme get adversely impacted. Coming to our state, we are today seeing a spike in Covid cases here. And Dimapur happens to be major contributors of the state’s tally, with its contribution reaching as high as over 90% of total active cases at times. A noteworthy factor could be the cosmopolitan nature of the city and the mass movement of people from outside the state into Dimapur. For the last 10 days, there has been an exponential increase in the number of cases at Dimapur. Though the spike in Dimapur cases can be attributed to inflow of population back after elections got over in Assam, the increase can as well be attributed to the overall trend in the country. Here it will not be out of place to mention also the impact of vaccination on the case trend. Covid vaccine was devised ahead of most other countries and the government did a laudable feat of launching a vaccination drive across the country in record time. Along with all the positives, one small negative impact of vaccination is gross complacency, wherein people who got vaccinated inaptly presumed themselves to be Covid-resistant and started ignoring all precautions, thereby putting their lives and others to great risk. Notwithstanding this negative, it is extremely important that the vaccination goes on unhindered seeing the renewed surge in cases of infection. As a matter of experience such diseases are only contained by mass vaccination. We have many diseases that ruined millions of lives, but were eliminated, or effectively contained, because of successful vaccination. The government agencies must actively follow the vaccination drive, and researchers need to be facilitated in every possible way to study and address the effects of the vaccine. Meanwhile people should be informed about the vaccination properly and no wrong perception should take hold of their minds.