Roll up the sleeves for Covid shot Kickstarting vaccination

The vaccination process has started. 9617 healthcare workers will receive the jab during the first phase of the vaccination programme in 10 centres set up across the State, namely at JNIMS, RIMS, Shija Hospital, District Hospitals of Churachandpur, Bishnupur, Senapati, Chandel, Ukhrul, Thoubal and Tamenglong. Significant to note that in the attempt to  give the vaccine a clean shot, many prominent personalities, such as the Director of RIMS, Director of JNIMS, Managing Director and Supervisor of Shija Hospital, CMOs of different districts such as Ukhrul lined up to receive the vaccine shot and this should go a long way in assuaging any thoughts of misgivings over the side effects or efficacy of Covishield-the vaccine  developed by Oxford University and Astra-Zeneca and manufactured by Serum Institute of India. This may be called an act of leading from the front, for any new vaccines are bound to raise apprehensions in the minds of the common people. Next in line after the healthcare workers are persons above 50 years of age and those below 50 but with co-morbidities. Clearly the Government seems to have worked out the list of people who should get the vaccine and this is something which should be acknowledged. As advised and suggested by health experts, getting the shot should not mean that people should stray from the Covid appropriate behaviour and this includes wearing a face mask while out in the public, maintaining social distancing and washing one’s hands frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitiser. This is perfectly in line with the unpredictable nature of the virus and its highly contagious nature and there is the need for all to come around to the idea and the steps championed constitute the understanding of the new normal. The new normal, this is what everyone should stick to, whether one has received the Covid shot or not.
The words of caution should be heeded. The virus is tricky and despite the vaccines, it is more than clear that science has still not been able to accurately predict how it behaves and adapts itself to the changing environment. If one goes some months back, the broad consensus or understanding was that the virus would become more virulent once winter sets in, giving the impression that it finds it hard to survive in the summer heat. However contrary to this earlier understanding, the number of infection rate has come down drastically not only in Manipur but all over the country with the onset of winter. The per day cases peaked during mid-September in India with over 90,000 cases but this saw a gradual drop by December and January. It is the same in Manipur too which at one time had as many as 200 plus positive cases on a single day to now below the 30 cases mark. The number of deaths too has seen a drastic drop in the past few days. These records went against the earlier held belief that cases will spike once winter sets in. More than enough indications that science is yet to fully understand the behaviour pattern of the virus that causes COVID-19. The arrival of Covishield should hopefully go a long in neutralising the heavy toll that the virus has extracted from the people and this is where the Government may need to do more to dispel the feeling of apprehension that may be felt by some sections of the people.