My WhatsApp chat box has been buzzing with positivity and enthusiasm ever since the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine in the country for senior citizens and people with co-morbidities above the age of 45. Every now and then, a message pops up in my inbox making proud proclamation of having taken the first dose of the vaccine. Undeniably, the response of the seniors, especially in my circle of friends, acquaintances, colleagues and neighbours to the vaccine, is reassuring.
Let me share an interesting chat in one of my WhatsApp groups. A friend posted her photograph peeping from a frame specifying the private clinic where she got herself inoculated. In response to her post, a well-meaning member in the group commented she could have taken the jab free of cost at a government vaccination centre without any hassle. Pat came the message, “Let this be my contribution in the government’s fight against corona...”
Those who have taken the vaccine at a government facility are more than satisfied with the service; others, too, have a reason to be happy for not burdening the government exchequer and machinery. Ultimately, what is most remarkable is a sense of pride in taking the jab — for ensuring some sort of protection against the virus for oneself and also for fulfilling social responsibility in helping to obstruct the virus transmission.
It is a fact that for the past few days, all our conversations and chats with relatives, friends and neighbours have centred on Lagwa liya kya? If one has already taken the jab, the normal question that follows is, Kuchch hua kya? My husband did have a mild fever after the vaccination but my experience has rather been interesting. Post-vaccination, I started complaining of a little pain in my right upper arm till the time my husband pointed out that actually it was my left arm that had been pricked.
As opposed to the recent enthusiasm, the first vaccination drive — for healthcare and frontline workers — was marked by greater vaccine hesitancy and scepticism. Though vaccine hesitancy is not a new phenomenon, proliferation of anti-vaccine information through the social media is much faster because of its ‘long tail effect’.
There have been instances galore when communities have boycotted immunisation due to rumours. But despite challenges, India has been able to achieve victory over small pox and polio with extensive immunisation. Undoubtedly, vaccine is an essential weapon in the war against Covid-19, spelling the beginning of the end of gloom and doom of the pandemic. But it is not the vaccine, but vaccination that will disrupt the spread of the virus.
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