‘Eager To Get The Vaccine & Reboot My Roster’

Nita Balmohan Rajesh (37), a Bengaluru-based HR professional, is hoping the age-bar for getting Covid vaccine to be lowered so she could safely step out of the virtual, closed-door world

My eight year old has a complaint: “It’s been 13 months sitting at home, Amma.”

My ten year old daughter chimes in: “It’s been the worst year ever, would you agree Amma?”

“Are you saying we can’t visit our cousins even this summer?” they both ask grumpily.

This is the new-found 2020 mode for my children: Sulk, even cry over the smallest of issues, yell at the sibling, take 45-50 minutes to finish a meal, and the worst, sneak more time on their personal laptops. Gone are the care-free days of playing in the park undeterred, getting a time-out for “pushing” a friend. “There are no friends in the park; who should we play with?” they complain and grudge about restricted hours for using iPads.

My husband, Rajesh, and I do feel guilty of this at times. Indeed, that one hour of screen time that we allow our children due to office engagements never ends as scheduled. “Another five mins please…”

Nita’s misses outings with family

How you wish to travel back in time to pre-March 2020! You woke up, readied the household for school and work, and went to office in person. What a feeling it now seems! Eight hours in a world away from the home. You actually MET people! You hugged some of them and shook hands with many of them. You solved business issues face-to-face and you could understand their speech coherently without the masks getting in the way.

You could see the entire human expression, the twitch in their lips when they disagreed; the eye roll when someone said something disagreeable; the nose turning slightly red when upset or angry. You didn’t have to plead them to turn on the video, or increase the volume. “Hello, can you hear me?” You were certain they heard you clear. You looked forward when the clock struck the hour to be back home. You enjoyed your favorite songs on the radio while cursing the reckless drivers on the road.

ALSO READ: ‘A Year Of Pandemic: Setback & Fightback’

You then came home looking forward to solve world peace-level problems. “Amma, Lalith wouldn’t speak to me today. He’s being best friends with Aditya. What do you think I should do?” Or “Amma, my skates don’t fit me anymore. How will I attend my skating classes tomorrow?” Just reminiscing those episodes brings a huge smile. No wonder we were physically healthier and mentally ‘less depressed’.

You didn’t have the luxury of snoozing your alarms, getting into conference calls un-showered or moving the breakfast hour. There was a purpose you woke up with to complete the 101 to-dos! You looked forward to your work-travel and then the vacation you did take.

Nita with her colleagues

The three things I miss a lot is the feeling of being in an aircraft, in a real office and dropping the kids in their school bus. Is there something wrong with me, I confessed to a friend, and we both laughed.

And the age-limit on being eligible for a vaccine certainly doesn’t make any of this remotely happen anytime soon. I do understand the demand-supply situation and completely support the fact that the older folks are at increased risk and should be prioritized. I am certain millions of us will be willing to pay a retail price to procure these vaccines and move on to our “normal” lives. Hope the 30-something aren’t asking for too much! Are we?

As Told To Mamta Sharma

‘In Initial Days Of Covid-19, Doctors Lost Sense Of Time’

Dr Arista Lahiri, 31, Sr Resident (Epidemiology) at College Of Medicine & Sagor Dutta Hospital in Kolkata, recounts how healthcare professionals battled the unknown virus and why we can’t let the guard down even now

I was fresh out of medical school when the pandemic struck. Even though my field of study was community medicine and thus I was well-versed with the incidence, spread and possible control of diseases during an epidemic/pandemic, yet nothing had prepared us for a crisis of such epic proportions that affected the whole world.

I was posted at the District Hospital in 24 Parganas (North) and had gone to another city to attend a medical conference in January 2020 when coronavirus began to be discussed seriously. Wuhan was already reeling under its impact and slowly the medical fraternity across the world had begun to realise that the virus was soon going to spread much, much farther than China.

In March-end, when the pandemic was officially declared in India, I dedicated myself completely to fighting the unknown virus. We were a four-member team doing 24×7 surveillance of both active as well as potential cases to target and isolate. We were doing everything from data entry to helping Covid patients get admission in hospitals to occasionally going out in the fields to see how the situation was panning out.

ALSO READ: ‘I Delivered My Child Amid Pandemic’

For two-three months we had no sense of time, putting in every hour of work that we could and going home only to sleep. We had no life outside work for those several months and no outlet to unwind. We just kept each other motivated and in good spirits.

Dr Lahiri says battling the virus is not the job of healthcare professionals alone

I was myself scared of the contagion; there were so many people suffering around us. Each day, I pulled myself up and marched on stronger. My parents were extremely supportive and understood my duty as a medical professional.

While the rest of the country was facing only Covid, nature dealt a double blow to West Bengal: cyclone Amphan. I am quite happy with the way our state government handled the crisis. The entire state machinery from the primary to district to state-level worked in tandem. Post-Amphan, there was a shifting of roles and responsibilities and I was asked to be a member of the Covid State Cell in Kolkata in June end.

ALSO READ: ‘Proud To Be A Part Of Vaccination Drive’

We had all learnt better by then and were able to streamline our work better. The workload eased off just a tiny bit, though we were still checking in hundreds and hundreds of patients each day. One thing I was happy about was that I was now living with my parents in Kolkata.

Since then I have been working in Kolkata itself doing 12 hour shifts every day. Between my work as faculty at the College of Medicine and my work at the Sagordutta Hospital, I have to travel nearly 40 kms each day. We cannot afford to slack off even now, though we can relax a bit.

Battling the pandemic isn’t the job of frontline healthcare workers alone. Community medicine is all about a community’s adherence to rules. Even though vaccines have been developed, we need to understand that new strains of the virus might still take over. So masks, sanitizing and social distancing are still our best bets against the virus! I got both my vaccine shots, but I still take all the precautions.

Watch – ‘Vaccination Was Smooth, Very Well Managed’

As India moves on from one milestone to another in its vaccination drive against Covid-19, LokMarg spoke to several senior citizens in Delhi-NCR about their experiences of getting the jab. Most of members interviewed said the entire process was well managed and orderly.

While some of them felt that a doctor’s presence at the vaccination point would have emboldened the beneficiaries, there was unanimity that the inoculation was organized in most professional way hitherto unseen at medical facilities.

Watch full video here

‘I Had Zero Side-Effect After Second Covid Vaccine Shot’

Dr Amiya Kumar Verma, deputy medical superintendent at Max Hospital Patparganj, Delhi, got his 2nd shot of vaccine on Feb 13.  Having seen the battle against Covid from the frontline, he is relieved to see the vaccination moving in right direction

I got my first dose of Covishield vaccine on January 16, 2021, the day when the nationwide Covid-19 vaccine drive was started. I had volunteered to take the shot on the very first day itself as I wanted to remove the fears of some of the doubting Thomases in my team.

And it worked. Of the 100 health-workers slotted to be vaccinated on day one, 70 came forward; this was the best percentage score from Delhi centres. It was natural for them to have anxiety about the vaccine, but when they saw the seniors taking the jab, they felt encouraged.

I must also appreciate the government’s efforts and planning for the vaccination at the designated unit in our hospital (Max Patparganj). The drive was monitored by health officials who informed the beneficiaries of possible side-effects and managed it smoothly.

Of the 70 who were vaccinated that day, almost everyone experienced a mild fever and weakness for a few days. I too had similar experience but the effects tapered off in three to four days.

ALSO READ: ‘Mild Fever Overnight Was The Only Side-Effect’

After the first vaccination shot, there was a survey carried by the government through a toll-free number for feedback about the procedure followed, hygiene maintained at the centre, and if the beneficiaries were attended to for the designated period post-vaccination.

The second shot after 28 days, that is on Feb 13. This time, there were no side-effects. Not even mild fever; I even went for my routine evening walk. As the experience was shared, it has raised hope and confidence among others about the vaccination programme.

I have been telling the heads of each department in our hospital to lead from the front so that the rest of the staff gains confidence. Of the 2,200 to be vaccinated, about 1,600 have got the jab. The ones left include those who adopt a wait and watch policy. They want the others to take the second dose and wait for their side effects.

In our battle against the pandemic, other than basic precautions, we simply do not have any other alternative except the two vaccines available. So why should I not take it!

Dr Verma considers vaccine a blessing amid pandemic

It is a blessing for the healthcare workers and their families as well as for those who have lost their loved ones during this pandemic. This pandemic made people so helpless that they couldn’t be at the side of their loved ones in the hospital or bid them a final goodbye. I have seen deaths where relatives prayed us to let them visit their patients one last time. And then, there were some people who did not come to see their family members for the fear of contagion. Such has been the stigma and the hopelessness that the pandemic caused.

ALSO READ: A Vaccine Of Hope

It is disappointing to hear some people say, that if others have taken the vaccine, we don’t need it. The idea for taking the vaccine is that the antibodies are developed in our body; it doesn’t mean that we won’t get the infection. What it means is by chance even if we get it, we will not have a serious effect like it did in the past after having taken the shot.

I want to tell people that if I have taken the vaccine then I can face and fight coronavirus while the one who is not vaccinated is neither safe from contraction nor capable of battling the virus. So this mentality that let others take it and we will be safe is not the right one.

If the government puts a price on the vaccination, I am sure people will stand in queue to get it but because the government is doing it free of cost, people are taking it for granted. Also the social media spreads a lot of misinformation. People keep forwarding a message that can do more harm than good without reading or understanding it.

As told to Mamta Sharma

Watch – ‘Govt Must Keep Vaccine Prices Affordable’

As vaccination drive against Covid-19 steps into the second-shot stage, LokMarg tries to find out people’s expectations and anxieties about the jab. The respondents looked aware of the vaccination and there was little fear in their mind with regards to its efficacy or side-effects

However, they feel that when the times comes for buying the vaccines from the market, the health regulators must ensure that their prices are affordable for common people. This would also ensure success of mass vaccination programme in the country.

Watch the full video here

India’s Vaccine Victory Carries A Parsi Punch

Smarting at China for long over several issues – border tensions that have compelled, among other things, minimizing of economic ties, boosting of “all-weather friend” Pakistan, being opposed at diplomatic forums and being surrounded in the region south of the Himalayas – India has found a sure and significant counter in the shape of vaccine against Coronavirus.

Even if small and short-term, it is smart, and has the world taking note – a world that is suffering from the pandemic. The Narendra Modi Government deserves full marks for launching “vaccine diplomacy” when confronted by a myriad issues. That includes being among the top five nations among the Corona-hit.

Its aspirations to become vishwa guru – teacher to the world – may seem tall and are contentious, even at home. But this one, emerging as vishwa chikitsak – doctor to the world, at least a good part of it, and partly, is eminently achievable and is already underway.

Beginning January 16, countries far and near are benefitting on something they direly need. That brings goodwill – hopefully, also blessings from individuals and families those who get cured. A vaccine is tika or teeka. It also carries several other connotations. The one that fits in here is tilak, the mark on Indian forehead to depict success, with humility. And why not, when India has already been the wold’s largest vaccine-maker?

Five million doses of Oxford University-invented Astra Zeneca vaccine, produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) are being gifted to Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Cambodia and Seychelles. Each of them is in dire need of the vaccine due to high incidence, and each one is hit economically by the pandemic. Inoculation began within three days of the vaccine being flown by special flights.

This has been India’s traditional area of regional influence where China, with its deep pockets and offers of huge projects has grabbed in the recent years.

Predictably, given perennially adversarial relations, India has ignored Pakistan that has yet to get a firm Chinese commitment of Sinovac. It is in queue for free doses while awaiting Astra Zeneca and Russia’s Sputnik for “emergency use.”

ALSO READ: A Vaccine Of Hope

India has raced ahead when China has yet to begin because of the uncertainties attached to its vaccine trials. Indeed, there is also the psychological factor about China being accused – real or propaganda – of causing Covid-19 at Wuhan and as it spread, not informing the world.

This is India’s defining moment. Besides goodwill and prestige, it is good business also, coming when its economy is struggling to recover from the lows experienced long before Covid-19 struck last year. Seven Indian companies are racing to produce vaccines and Covaxin of the state sector Bharat Biotech is already being administered.

Thanks to the virus, the Indian pharmaceutical sector, slated to export worth USD 25 billion by end-March, can expect to export much more.

To some of the neighbours, including Bangladesh that is to get three million doses for free as a goodwill gesture, commercial exports are scheduled to let the SII recover its investment and effort.  

India has contracted to sell SII-made Covishield to Brazil, Morocco, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia. Flights carrying the precious cargo took off to these countries on January 22. Order books are full to conduct exports to more nations.

India plans to export vaccines to the other poor and middle-income countries of Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia as part of an arrangement with GAVI, the vaccine alliance. This should boost its and soft-power on even a larger scale than yoga.

It has not been easy, however. A major pharma producer, despite its growing strength, India has faced an undercurrent of propaganda in the global market about the reliability of its medicines after the US Food and Drugs regulator sent out adverse notices.

Emerging as the pharmaceutical powerhouse of the region has increased the reliability of India’s healthcare sector on which its neighbours are heavily dependent. This could further bolster medical tourism.

ALSO READ: ‘We Moved 1.1cr Vaccines In 24 Hours’

The least-talked part of this vaccine story is the role of the tiny Parsi community of fire-worshipping Zoroastrians, to which SII’s owner, Cyrus Poonawala and his CEO son Adar belong.

A story on social media that remains unconfirmed is that of Cyrus offering the Bombay Parsi Panchayat to reserve over 60,000 doses of Covishield for the community. Ratan Tata, head of the house of Tata, politely declined: “we are Indian first, then Parsis. We will wait our turn in line.”

This is the modesty for which the Parsis are well-known. But there is no escaping some details, even allowing for an element of exaggeration.

+ SII’s Covishield is stored in glass vials produced by a Parsi firm Schott Kaisha, owned by Rishad Dadachanji.

+ They are transported with dry ice manufactured by another Parsi, Farokh Dadabhoy.

+ They are delivered by Tata Motors Trucks.

+ Vaccine batches transported by GoAir of Jeh Wadia and stored in refrigerators made by Godrej, both renowned Parsi family enterprises.

Despite being a miniscule fraction of the 1.3 billion Indian population, the Parsis have never asked for Minority benefits. They have always punched above their class and the numbers.

Literate, industrious and not averse to leaving shores unlike the traditional Hindus, they became indispensable to Britain’s global reach. One of their tasks was carrying opium to China. But they also fought the British: Dadabhai Naoroji, Dinshaw Mehta, Bhicaiji Cama were among them.

They responded to overtures from the Mughal kings and later to the early British settlers, taking up shipping, banking, construction and brokerage. They were the pioneers who built a half of Mumbai.

It would take several pages to list only the names of Parsis who have made an outstanding contribution to independent India’s economy, defence, atomic energy, music, literature, science, sports and cinema. Their reach is now global.

Way back in 2012, a top community official told the Mumbai High Court that its definition of a poor Parsi was one who earned less than Rs 90,000 per month. This is many times more than India’s per capita annual income of $1,876.53 or Rupees 136,794.

Is the community India’s richest? It does have poor members. But then think of India’s Tata, Godrej, Pallonji, Wadia, Avari and Bhandara of Pakistan, Lord Karan Bilimoria of Britain – to name only the industrialists and businessmen.

Almost all of them have institutionalised philanthropy giving billions away. Although all faiths preach piety and charity, the Parsis (“thy name is charity”) lead. It is riches well earned, well spent. It will be tragic if their population dwindles to almost zero by the end of this century.

The writer can be reached at mahendraved07@gmail.com

‘Police Band Gave A Guard Of Honour To 1st Vaccinated Lot’

Dr Arun Gaur, medical superintendent of Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Bhilwara, one of the first Covid hotspots in India, recounts the vaccination launch and the battle against the pandemic

For the vaccination on the launch day, January 16 that is, I personally invited the frontline staff enrolled for the serum shot. We had enrolled 900 persons from our hospital which not only included doctors but also nursing staff, lab technicians, computer operators, sweepers, guards and the canteen staff – in equal numbers. We included all these persons in the first list as this team has been working tirelessly since the pandemic outbreak in March, 2020.

I am proud to say that we successfully vaccinated 100 persons on the first day. There had been some apprehensions, even among frontline workers, regarding the vaccine and its after-effects. So, each person was kept under observation for half an hour after being vaccinated. I am glad that none of them showed any side effects.

ALSO READ: ‘Proud To Be A Part Of Vaccination’

So, after the process was over, we organised a guard of honour by the police band for the first batch. We also issued an appreciation certificate to all of them. The district administration also supported us in managing this. The district collector and SP had joined us and felicitated the workers.

Today, as I look back at our battle against pandemic, I take pride in our efforts. When Bhilwara became a Covid-19 hotspot, the challenges were unique and unknown. No one knew about the novel virus, how it spread, how a sample was to be collected, or how to treat the patient. But the challenges also motivated us to fight back. Fortunately, not a single case was referred to any outside facility. On the contrary, we saw patients coming in from other districts, even states, to Bhilwara for treatment in the past six months. I see this as an achievement.

We were greatly supported by our families, the administration, the state government and health workers. We formed a critical care team, made all decisions in a group, took suggestions from every faculty member be it a physician or a pediatrician and involved them. We were the first to start some of the investigations that were required in the treatment. We even managed a C-section of a Covid-19 patient who delivered twins. There were anxious moments about the new-born health but the infection was not transmitted.

ALSO READ: ‘Ignore Fake New, Vaccines Are A Must’

The credit also goes to the state leadership. Our chief minister Ashok Gehlot was directly in contact with us after the district was declared a hotspot. He provided all necessary support that we required, including RT-PCR testing machines, 40 ventilators, other resources, and a help desk. The support from the media was also unprecedented.

I believe every achievement brings an extra responsibility on your shoulders. I still have to protect my team and patients because the expectation is high. Even before the second dose we get, we have to follow the prescribed preventive measures for another six months very strictly. We understand that 30 percent population has already been infected by the virus and when 30-40 percent population get vaccinated, the overall immunity will be more than 60 percent. Only then there could be some relief for all of us. Till that time, our fight against the pandemic is not over.

As Told To Mamta Sharma

‘Proud To Be A Part Of Vaccination Programme’

Savita Paliwal, 52, a senior vaccinator in Moradabad (UP), is happy to see India among the first few countries to launch vaccination programme early. She explains how the monumental process will unfold

I have been in the medical profession for nearly three decades now and have been involved with quite a few vaccination and immunisation programmes. As a government employee at the Community Health Centre at Thakurdwara, Moradabad, I have been actively involved in building a healthy society. However, this time it is quite different.

Dealing with the Covid-19 is something that we have never seen before in our entire career. Healthcare professionals have been on their toes for nearly a year now. And with new strains coming up at different parts of the world, the challenge is only getting tougher.

It was therefore both a moment of relief and pride when we were informed that India is one of the first few countries to start vaccination programme. We have compiled the beneficiary list in our zone and have had two dry runs, on January 5 and 8.

We have been divided into two teams of three members each. Both teams have one vaccinator, one helper and a data expert (someone who keeps track of the beneficiaries who get vaccination). Healthcare professionals, especially the pharmacists and paramedical staff will be given the vaccine on priority basis.

ALSO READ: A Vaccine Of Hope

The phase 1 of the programme begins on January 16. Each team is supposed to vaccinate 25 people in a day, so in our locality you can say that the Community Health Centre employees will be vaccinating around 50 people daily. The process will be spread across five rooms with standard operating procedure in place like regular sanitization, temperature screening etc.

Savita Paliwal (middle) with her colleagues at Moradabad community health centre

The DM (district magistrate) was very involved in how the dry runs were conducted and there was total cooperation from the Chief Minster’s office as well. I feel happy that we are all functioning as one smooth machinery.

Of course, many people are scared of taking vaccines but as someone with an extensive experience in this field I know how to soothe people. Asha workers are also involved in the vaccination programme, and spreading awareness about it.

Moradabad was declared a hotspot last year and I would say we expect most people to be co-operative. No query of the beneficiaries will be considered insignificant and we will take care to also inform them of the minor side-effects they might encounter after the vaccination.

ALSO READ: Nursing Our Healthcare System

I feel lucky to be a part of this monumental process. I have been keeping myself updated with all the news about vaccines developed in India as well as other countries and I would say so far we have handled the Covid-19 situation really well. But it is not over yet and the pandemic needs the cooperation of every single citizen of the country. I make it a point to carry extra masks in my bag and hand them free to anyone I see not wearing a mask.

I feel proud that India developed and mass-produce a vaccine in good time and now we aren’t dependent on any foreign country for the immunity programme. I wonder how the scientists who developed the vaccines must have raced against time to save as many lives as possible. I hope the process goes smoothly. We have managed and eradicated polio and now we are confident we shall put corona virus behind us too.

A Vaccine Of Hope

Despite the Toxic English Variant of the Corona virus there is relief and even euphoric hope in United Kingdom and USA as the long awaited vaccine against Covid-19 Virus has been rolled out.  Yet not everyone is convinced. There are plenty of scare stories about the virus too including that Bill Gates has put a chip in it to control our minds.

Science has become too complex for the average person to differentiate between fact and fiction.  Simply put, a vaccine, uses a neutered pathogen to provoke the immune system to be almost fully armed when the real one strikes.

Every nano second, the body is fighting ‘enemies of the body’. These invaders fail because of the incredible immune system of defence and offence. It is far more advanced than the American Army and possesses precision bombing that actually delivers precision targeting of enemy.

Antigen is material that invokes the body’s immune system to come charging at it. Most antigens are alien and from pathogens. Pathogens are nasty things that damage our body. They can be bacteria, fungi, protozoa, worms and not to forget the ubiquitous viruses. Let’s stick to viruses.

Unlike bacteria that fight straight, viruses are real insurgents. They invade cells and then use their material to survive and multiply, killing the cells in the process. The toxins produced can cause a lot more harm. The human defence mechanisms fight off these viruses in a number of ways. The body has more ranks of soldiers than the Chinese army.

There are macrophages, T-cells, B cells, helper T cells, T helper cells, memory T helper Cells, memory Killer T Cells, antibodies and so on, rank IDs that can fill this page, so we stop the list here. The body defence system is called the immune response. The immune system has a strong sense of nationalism and protects citizen cells.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus, Nemesis Of Age Of Reason

A virus is destroyed either when it is in the invaded cell or before it goes into cells. When it is in the cell, both cell and virus get destroyed. The invaded cells send SOS to the immune system.

The immune system has two main forms. The innate system and the acquired system. Innate comes with birth (ancestral). It is first responders and non-specific. The acquired is a learnt system specific to a particular bacteria, virus etc. The factory making them is the bone marrow, the spongy bit in bones. There are a number of very intricate satellite production and distribution systems, such as lymph nodes, more in number than the Mandis in Punjab and Haryana.

As part of the first responders, the patrol soldiers, called macrophages attack virus infested cells by engulfing them and disintegrating them. Macrophages can’t attack viruses directly as the latter are too wily. Macrophages present the viral antigens to T cells and B cells in the bone marrow. These are soldiers of the Acquired Immunity Battalion. Each T cell and B cell is engineered to ‘hate’ a particular bacterial or viral antigen and becomes a commando.

T cells work like macrophages but are specific, and attack cells that are infected by the virus that they don’t like. They go straight to cells invaded by their hated foe.

B cells produce small identifier darts called antibodies. Each B Cell produces an antibody that is targeted at only one viral or bacterial type. The dart antibody does a sort of leg clasp on the virus, latching on to it. The clasping bit and the part of the virus it latches are specific. So the specific antibody cant tackle other antigens. If the virus mutates a bit, it does not matter because the antibody may still have enough clasp points to latch on to. This action makes it difficult for the virus to get into a normal citizen cell. Macrophages and T Cells quickly come and gobble them both, destroying them.

Trouble is that this system takes a couple of weeks. Think of it as the factory needing to calibrate machines etc. By that time the virus has done enough damage to the body. The first responders (innate system) cannot hold back virus invasion for long. By the time the T cells and B cells are made, the Virus has scaled most walls in the body that it wants to. Most people survive but many die or sustain damage to internal organs.

Body’s immune system has a memory of its enemies

Once infected the body’s immune system develops memory in the T and B memory cells. So when the virus attacks again, the T Cells and B cells are ready. The factory in the Bone Marrow has production machines on standby. They quickly attack the virus before it does damage. But can this be done even before the virus attacks first time and before it gets into the cells? That’s where vaccines comes.

To create memory for the specific virus, the virus itself or a form of it has to be introduced into the body so that memory T Cells and memory B cells with precision targeting can be ‘manufactured’. But that is also dangerous. What if the virus multiplies and gets out of control. Send for the white coated scientists.

Scientists work to produce attenuated form of the virus, a neutered version that cannot multiply. Or they take a part of the virus or a gene that is like the virus. The body immune system however destroys the attenuated virus or its version and memorises its structure. So when the real virus attacks, not only the first responders, but the precision commandos of the Acquired Immune Battalion are also ready.

Vaccines are not a treatment. Vaccines are a way of preparing the body for the first attack by the virus so that it destroys the virus before it overwhelms the body. Simple as that. Next time Covid-19 comes barging into the body, the B Cells and T Cells are already on stand by to pin it down.

ALSO READ: Nursing Indian Healthcare System

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine uses a prepared gene that invokes antibody production against a spike protein of Covid-19 Virus. The virus uses this to break into cells. The antibody stops that.

It appears simple. But is very complicated. A lot of trials need to happen to ensure there are no immediate or long term side effects of the vaccine. But the rapid spread of Covid-19 virus has necessitated shortening the period of trials.

Vaccines or their makers and supporters have to fight off another attack. Disinformation!

The first one doing the rounds is that ‘the vaccine has corona virus’ shock horror! Of course it is coronavirus or something mimicking a genetic part of it in the vaccine. Despite Facebook, Snapchat and mobiles, there is no technology to take a picture of the virus and send it to the Bone marrow ‘factory’ manufacturing precision target T Cells and B Cells. Cells cant read jpeg etc.

The second alleged ‘devastating revelation’ is that there can be side effects and scientists are not telling us! Every medicine has some side effect. They are listed in the leaflet in the box. Just read it. No secret. Side effects are from immediate allergic reaction to effects of immune response such as headaches, itching, feeling unwell for a day or so. But for the vast majority they are no reactions or ones so minor, that the benefit of the vaccine outweigh the small side effects. 

The third ‘alarming inside’ info doing the rounds better suits green men in mars territory.  On social media they say ‘Did you know the virus was invented by Bill Gates and the Vaccine has a microchip to read your mind and everything’. Once a person is in this wacco stratosphere, it is best to wait for him/her to descend back to earth.

So in brief summary, a vaccine uses a neutered virus or a part of it or a gene similar to it and provokes the body’s immune system to first attack it and then develop memory to be able to tackle a real attack. Memory is not ever lasting. So it might take repeat provocative vaccines to maintain the defence system up to date.