The call for the new normal still stands Date set for vaccine

The date set by the Government of India to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination drive : January 16. India’s immunisation drive will obviously be one of the biggest in the world and Manipur will be part of this huge movement of vaccines and people. A movement on this scale has not been seen but judging from the dry runs that have been conducted in the run up to the date set, one can imagine the sheer magnitude of the people and materials to be involved. As noted here earlier, how effective the vaccination drive will be will depend largely on how cooperative the people and how well oiled are the logistics needed for such an exercise. Manipur has its task out with about 30 lakh people needing to be vaccinated and while the first task of identifying the folks who should first get the vaccine seems to have been done, the question of where the rest of the population will be placed in the drive is yet to be spelt out. The Government at Imphal must have already worked out its draft plan and obviously it will need a formal nod from the Centre. Given the massive work coming up ahead, it is heartening to note that the State Government has prepared enough cold chain points and storage facility for storing the Covid vaccines. The doses needed to inoculate the people can also be reportedly stored at two facilities which are in place with the Health and Family Welfare Department.
These are undoubtedly positive developments in the face of the heavy toll already taken by the global pandemic. The pandemic should also serve as the eye opener on the need to be always ready for any eventuality. Perhaps this is also the ideal moment to minutely study if something more could have been done to control the spread. Even as preparations for making the Covid vaccine available to the people seem to be ready, it would help for all to remember that the virus continues to spread. According to statistics put forth by the COVID-19 Common Control Room on January 9, 67 people tested positive for the virus and a 55 year old man passed away. The total of people who have been infected stands at 28,464 as on January 9 and the number will continue to climb. On the other hand, the recovery rate has crossed the 96 percent mark and while this is definitely a positive development and indicates that more people are recovering than new cases of fresh infection, the fact stands that people continue to get infected. This is where the behaviour of the people as a whole merits the attention of all concerned. The arrival of vaccine and the increasing number of recovered cases should not lull anyone into a false sense of complacency. Even in the face of the vaccine being lined up, it is not for nothing why experts have gone on record to observe that vaccination will not guarantee 100 percent protection and why wearing face mask is a must. Along with wearing a face mask, maintaining social distancing should now be the new norm. Time for everyone to come to terms with the real understanding of the new normal.