I’ve been receiving a number of emails from community members sharing their fears and confusion as regards the safety and/or the need of taking the vaccine – in keeping with the endless contradictory messages we receive on social media platforms and WhatsApp. While some messages give us a sense of relief and consolation about the safety and protection provided by the vaccine, there’s a good number of petrifying messages unleashing news of disaster and deaths of those post vaccination.
Trying to separate the wheat from the chaff is as challenging because it’s not just about doctors versus naysayers and conspiracy theorists… a good number of these ‘conspiracy theorists’ happen to be doctors themselves! So, what or who is one to believe??? Adding disillusionment to this fear and confusion are numerous messages going viral about how many of those who received the first jab have ended up contracting the virus! Not much relief stems from the fact that those impacted post their first jab constitute a tiny percentage of the vaccinated total.
These are uncertain times and it gets scarier because it pretty much boils down to a question of life and death. The new Indian mutant strain, the highlight of this second corona-wave, is way more potent in terms of both – being contagious and the extent of damage it can wreak on your health. In fact, it’s not just the immunity-compromised segment (seniors and those with co-morbidities) that’s more vulnerable to it; we’ve witnessed a sharp surge in the number of young adults and children too testing COVID positive.
So how do we go about this? As a nation recording nearly two lakh new cases daily, but moreso, as a minuscule community that’s already been fighting an uphill battle against probable extinction, we need to approach this predicament with intelligence, common sense and yes, faith. These three factors help deal with the even bigger and more harmful enemy we need to handle – stress!
So, let’s start with a few facts – please understand that for now, absolutely no one has all the answers about the vaccine or the virus; research and trials are still ongoing as this virus constantly mutates, with new strains popping up across the world. Hence, it’s challenging to provide specifics for the disease or its cure. However, we have the best scientists across the world working on this, so we need to be a little patient. Since any blanket generalisations are out of question for now, it would make sense to adopt a more systematic and customised methodology.
This would include making a detailed list of your current and past health issues and consulting a medical doctor or specialist – NOT GOOGLING INFORMATION – with your queries to get a better understanding of your risk-profile, with regard to both – the virus and the vaccine. You will thus be better prepared to manage both. And that will assuage most of your fears and confusion.
But no matter what, the one thing you need to continue doing is adhering to the mandatory precautions of social distancing, wearing masks, washing your hands frequently and not giving in to the urge to socialize and congregate, despite the unnerving precedent set by the nation’s leaders – ‘Do as I say, don’t do as I do’. It is truly shocking and extremely hypocritical to allow and enable super spreader events like political campaigns and the ongoing Kumbh Mela, which will surely take an added toll on the nation’s predicament.
We know better than that. And we will do better than that. For the sake of our own wellbeing and that of others. Stay safe and have a good weekend!